Press release: Our grip on reality is slim, says UCL scientist

24 June 2006

The neurological basis for poor witness statements and hallucinations has been found by scientists at UCL. In over a fifth of cases, people wrongly remembered whether they actually witnessed an event or just imagined it, according to a paper published in ‘NeuroImage’.

Dr Jon Simons and Dr Paul Burgess led the study at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr Burgess said: “In our tests volunteers either thought they had imagined words which they had actually been shown or said they had seen words which in fact they had just imagined – in over 20 per cent of cases. That is quite a lot of mistakes to be making, and shows how fallible our memory is – or perhaps, how slim our grip on reality is!”

Read the complete press release.