Your memory is not as powerful as you think

Publication Date

Stephanie Pappas - MSNBC

A new survey conducted in part by Assistant Psychology Professor Christopher Chabris reveals that many people in the U.S. – in some cases a substantial majority – think that memory is more powerful, objective and reliable than it actually is. Their ideas are at odds with decades of scientific research.

The results of the survey and a comparison to expert opinion appear in a paper in the journal PLoS ONE.

“This is the first large-scale, nationally representative survey of the U.S. population to measure intuitive beliefs about how memory works,” said University of Illinois psychology professor Daniel Simons, who led the study with Chabris. Simons and Chabris conducted the survey during research for their book, “The Invisible Gorilla,” which explores commonly held (and often incorrect) beliefs about memory and perception.

The survey received extensive national publicity, including U.S News and World Report, ABC News and MSNBC.