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The fallibility of memory: a natural experiment

Med J Aust 2004; 181 (11): 649.

Much has been written about false memories — memories that are a distortion of an actual experience, or a confabulation of an imagined one. Memory and its reliability or otherwise have profound implications for us all, not only in our daily lives, but clinically and medicolegally. How often does a medical negligence or misconduct allegation boil down to “he said, she said” evidence? And we have all experienced the mismatch of memories of events shared in the distant past by more than one person. This personal anecdote records the same event as recalled by two people. Quite fortuitously in this instance, objective contemporaneous evidence settled the disagreement.

  • Peter C Arnold

  • Edgecliff, NSW.

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