Are observer memories (accurate) memories? Insights from experimental philosophy

Vilius Dranseika*, Christopher Jude McCarroll, Kourken Michaelian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A striking feature of our memories of the personal past is that they involve different visual perspectives: one sometimes recalls past events from one's original point of view (a field perspective), but one sometimes recalls them from an external point of view (an observer perspective). In philosophy, observer memories are often seen as being less than fully genuine and as being necessarily false or distorted. This paper looks at whether laypeople share the standard philosophical view by applying the methods of experimental philosophy. We report the results of five studies suggesting that, while participants clearly categorize both field and observer memories as memories, they tend to judge that observer memories are slightly less accurate than field memories. Our results suggest, however, that in lay thought, the difference between field and observer memories is not nearly as clear-cut as philosophers have generally taken it to be.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103240
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • Accuracy in memory
  • Experimental philosophy
  • Memory distortion
  • Observer memory
  • Perspective in memory


Dive into the research topics of 'Are observer memories (accurate) memories? Insights from experimental philosophy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this