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Our changeable memories: legal and practical implications

An Erratum to this article was published on 01 May 2003


The malleability of memory is becoming increasingly clear. Many influences can cause memories to change or even be created anew, including our imaginations and the leading questions or different recollections of others. The knowledge that we cannot rely on our memories, however compelling they might be, leads to questions about the validity of criminal convictions that are based largely on the testimony of victims or witnesses. Our scientific understanding of memory should be used to help the legal system to navigate this minefield.

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Figure 1: An example of a composite photograph of a hot-air balloon flight.


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I thank the neurophysiologist W. Calvin, for provocative discussions about these issues and general guidance.

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Loftus, E. Our changeable memories: legal and practical implications. Nat Rev Neurosci 4, 231–234 (2003).

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