misinformation effect

Turns out I’m not alone in memory-is-an-illusion kick.

Just the day after I posted that, Kottke gave a nice shout-out to this funny new blog called You Are Not So Smart. Dude is chronicling all the ways in which we delude himself. In other words: He picked the perfect topic for a blog. His subject will never run dry.

you are not so smart logo

The You Are Not So Smart take on memory:

The Misconception: Memories are played back like recordings.

The Truth: Memories are constructed anew each time from whatever information is currently available, which makes things like eyewitness testimony unreliable.


Scientists generally agree memories aren’t recorded like videos or stored like data on a hard drive. They are constructed and assembled on the spot like Legos from a bucket in your brain.

Each time you build a memory, you make it from scratch, and if much time has passed you stand a good chance of getting the details wrong. With a little influence, you might get big ones wrong.

So I guess I didn’t make up that article I referenced in my own memory post. Whew.

I passed the word list test, BTW. But only because I guessed the punchline when reading over the teaser words. I mean…I’m not THAT smart.

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