Memory illusions and distortions have long been of interest to psychology researchers studying memory, but neuropsychologists and neuroscientists have paid relatively little attention to them. This article attempts to lay the foundation for a cognitive neuroscience analysis of memory illusions and distortions by reviewing relevant evidence from a patient with a right frontal lobe lesion, patients with amnesia produced by damage to the medial temporal lobes, normal aging, and healthy young volunteers studied with functional neuroimaging techniques. Particular attention is paid to the contrasting roles of prefrontal cortex and medial temporal lobe structures in accurate and illusory remembering. Converging evidence suggests that the study of illusory memories can provide a useful tool for delineating the brain processes and systems involved in constructive aspects of remembering.
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