Misconceptions are beliefs that are held despite contrary evidence. Those that arestrongly held are quite difficult to change, any new information is either ignored or adapted tofit the misconception, strengthening it (Taylor & Kowalski, 2004). Those who believe themisconception of memory operating similarly to a video-recorder, taking an exact recordingof experience, preserving and replaying it perfectly, are often unaware that recollections arenot 100% accurate and are actually vulnerable to distortion (Lilienfeld, Lynn, Ruscio &Beyerstein, 2010a). These memories appear real and concrete to the individual, forming partof their self-identity, and so they accept it as genuine, however evidence demonstrates thatmemories are highly susceptible to distortion over time (Loftus, 2003; Wade & Tavris, 2000).This essay intends to address this misconception of memory as video-recorder or DVDproviding evidence highlighting its inaccuracy as well as to explore some of the reasons suchmisconceptions come to be believed and their sources in society.Flashbulb memories may help explain why some individuals come to believe memoryas a perfect recording of past events. Brown and Kulik (1977) first introduced the concept of flashbulb memories as recollections for highly personal and socially significant experiences.Appearing very vivid and often strongly emotional
the memory has a live quality that isalmost
perceptual...like a photograph”
(Schmolck et al., 2000). As these memories appear sovivid, the individual believes experience to be perfectly preserved like a video-recording.However, evidence has demonstrated that these memories in fact become less clear over timeand vulnerable to distortion (Lilienfeld, Lynn, Ruscio & Beyerstein, 2010b). For example,Schmolc
k et al. (2000) investigated memory distortion in participants‟ recollection of the O.J.
Simpson trial verdict after 15 and 32 months. College students
reports of how they had cometo hear of the news of the trial 3 days after the verdict were compared with those collected 15or 32 months later. After 15 months, 50% of recollections were consistent with previousreports while 11% displayed major differences. Of those assessed after 32 months, 29% were