Memory 'is not like a video tape'

Memory does not work like a video tape, but is rather constructive and reconstructive, an expert has said.

Speaking to Claudia Hammond on BBC Radio 4, Elizabeth Loftus said that contrary to popular opinion, memory cannot be held on to before being played back at a later date.

The specialist explained: "We're actually taking bits and pieces of experience and binding them together to produce what feels like a memory."

Professor Loftus lectures in Psychology and Law at the University of California, Irvine. During her distinguished career she has explored the idea of semantic memory, which relates to memories for words and concepts and how information is organised in a person's long-term memory.

She explained that she is keen for her work to have practical relevance that can benefit people in their everyday lives.

Professor Loftus will be a keynote speaker at theBritish Psychological Society's annual conference held in Glasgow (4-6 May), where she will deliver her lecture Manufacturing Memories.

She is an expert in human memory and came 58th on a list of the 100 most influential researchers in psychology in the 20th century - the highest-ranked female on the list.