Book Definition: A memory fault that occurs when memories are retrieved but are associated with the wrong time, place, or person.

History (Optional)


D. Thompson was accused of rape by a girl. Luckily, Thompson could not have been the assaulter because at the time she reported the rape occurred, he was live on television. The girl, says she watched this interview on TV and misassociated the details of the man raping her with Thompson on TV.

In Your Own Words


  • Recalling details of a memory of a certain time/place but with the wrong occurrence.
  • Connecting memories of events to the wrong time, place, or person.
  • Remembering something that was never actually experienced due to context cues.
  • When you accidentally relate a memory retrieved to the wrong idea/topic.
  • Mixing up the times or places of an event.

Examples/Functions


  • Confusing two memories by saying, "Oh yes, I just remembered, Sarah's birthday is May 15th". When REALLY: Emily's birthday is May 15th and Sarah's birthday is November 15th.
  • If I was reminding a friend about how fun the party we went to was, but then I realized that it was not them that was with me, it was someone else. I did this because I was with them right before the party.
  • Saying to somebody, "Didn't you say that joke...ha ha that was funny." And then the person is confused and says, "No, that wasn't me..." You did this because the person usually tells funny jokes.
  • You reminisce with your friend Daisy, and recall a time when you went sledding on a huge hill...but you actually didn't do that with Daisy, you did it with Suzie.
  • I received a text message from a friend about an issue she had. I was explaining to my other friend the problem when she asked when I could talk to her. I stated she was in my third period today when really I was thinking it was a B Day not an A Day. Therefore, I had the wrong time.
  • Examining a list of words that are related, "door, glass, pane, shade, ledge, sill, house, open, curtain, frame, view, breeze, sash, screen, and shutter" and then believing that one of the words in the list was 'window'. It is easy to fabricate this memory because window fits with the context of the other words.
  • When you remind your girlfriend about the time you two went to the amusement park, but then realize that was actually with your ex.
  • Eyewittness testimonies are inaccurate, sometimes accusing the wrong person because they associate their memory with the wrong person
  • Mr. Cizek reads a list of words that we are asked to remember: injection, sewing, thread, pain, stitches, point, sharp.. etc. He asks the class to write down as many as they can remember. Many of the students would have written "needle" because they assumed from the other words that needle was associated with them.
  • Thinking that your Mom's birthday is March 3rd but really that is your Dad's birthday
  • A list of words is read including "night, slumber, wake, comfort, bed, tired, dream, snore...." and you think that sleep was one of the words read
  • Thinking of a really sweet note to write your best friend during WildCat Hour, with phrases and all, and then trying to remember what you were going to write , then accidentally writing down a phrase that you heard someone across the room from you shout out instead of what you had intended.
  • You tell your mother that you failed a test in third period, but really it was fourth.You said third because you're so use to failing that class.

Additional Resources


  1. http://www.spring.org.uk/2008/02/how-memories-are-distorted-and-invented.php
  2. http://www.alleydog.com/glossary/definition.php?term=Misattribution