The power of imagination / The weakness of dating: on two origins of autobiographical memory distortion



The article focuses on issues of autobiographical memory malleability which are of high relevance to forensic practice. Taking into account both single case report and mass studies we revealed that time is the weakest aspect of autobiographical recollection. Namely, dating of past event and ordering of event components are prone to memory distortion to the maximum extent. Paradoxically, it coincides with high confidence in accuracy of event recalled. Than we shifted to the most discussed in the relevant literature mechanism of memory transformation i.e. imagination inflation. This mechanism consists of mistaking just imagined event for a real one. We also noted that high subjective probability of imagined event and reliable source of misinformation make significant impact into memory transformation.

General Information

Keywords: constructiveness of cognition, autobiographical memory, subjective confidence, autobiographical memory’s malleability.

Journal rubric: Forensic and Clinical Psychology in Legal Context

Article type: scientific article


For citation: Nurkova V.V., Vasilenko D. The power of imagination / The weakness of dating: on two origins of autobiographical memory distortion [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologiya i pravo = Psychology and Law, 2017. Vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 182–192. DOI: 10.17759/psylaw.2017070115. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Veronika V. Nurkova, Doctor of Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, M. V. Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leading researcher at the School of Anthropology of the Future, Institute of Social Sciences of the Russian National Economy and Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation (RANEPA), Associate Professor of the Faculty of the Effective Academy of Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Darya Vasilenko, graduate, Lomonosov State University, Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



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