What people believe about memory

Svein Magnussen, Jan Andersson, Cesare Cornoldi, Rossana De Beni, Tor Endestad, Gail S. Goodman, Tore Helstrup, Asher Koriat, Maria Larsson, Annika Melinder, Lars Göran Nilsson, Jerker Rönnberg, Hubert Zimmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two representative samples of adult Norwegians (n=2000) were asked a set of general and specific questions regarding their beliefs and opinions about human memory. The results indicate that on many questions, such as time of the earliest memories, inhibiting effects of collaboration, and memory for dramatic versus ordinary events, the views of the general public concurred with current research findings, and people in general had realistic views about their own memory performance. On other questions, such as the reliability of olfactory as compared with visual and auditory memory, the memory of small children in comparison with that of adults, the likelihood of repression of adult traumatic memories, and on more general questions such as the possibility of training memory and the capacity limitations of long-term memory, a large proportion of the participants expressed views that are less supported by scientific evidence. Implications of these findings are briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-613
Number of pages19
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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