Human memory may be unreliable after just a few seconds, scientists find

Nicola Davis in The Guardian:

From squabbling over who booked a disaster holiday to differing recollections of a glorious wedding, events from deep in the past can end up being misremembered. But now researchers say even recent memories may contain errors.

Scientists exploring our ability to recall shapes say people can make mistakes after just a few seconds – a phenomenon the team have called short-term memory illusions.

“Even at the shortest term, our memory might not be fully reliable,” said Dr Marte Otten, the first author of the research from the University of Amsterdam. “Particularly when we have strong expectations about how the world should be, when our memory starts fading a little bit – even after one and a half seconds, two seconds, three seconds – then we start filling in based on our expectations.”

More here.