Minimal memory for details in real life events

TitleMinimal memory for details in real life events
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMisra, P, Marconi, A, Peterson, MF, Kreiman, G
JournalScientific Reports
Date PublishedJan-12-2018

The extent to which the details of past experiences are retained or forgotten remains controversial. Some studies suggest massive storage while others describe memories as fallible summary recreations of original events. The discrepancy can be ascribed to the content of memories and how memories are evaluated. Many studies have focused on recalling lists of words/pictures, which lack the critical ingredients of real world memories. Here we quantified the ability to remember details about one hour of real life. We recorded video and eye movements while subjects walked along specified routes and evaluated whether they could distinguish video clips from their own experience from foils. Subjects were minimally above chance in remembering the minutiae of their experiences. Recognition of specific events could be partly explained by a machine-learning model of video contents. These results quantify recognition memory for events in real life and show that the details of everyday experience are largely not retained in memory.

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