|Title of host publication||Encyclopedia of Deception|
|Editors||Timothy R Levine|
|Publisher||SAGE Publications Inc.|
|Publication status||Published - May 2014|
Memory is essential to human survival. It contains the entirety of people's knowledge and understanding of themselves and their world. It helps individuals identify the objects around them, predict and understand events they may confront, and strategically interact with their physical and social worlds to survive and achieve their goals. It tells individuals where they have been, what they have experienced, and therefore who they are; what they can and cannot accomplish, what they should try and what they should not, and if they do try, how to go about it. Despite these essential functions of memory, and their overall success, memory can nevertheless be deceptive in ways great and small. It can simply fail, forgetting aspects of experience ranging from minor details to large segments of individuals' lives. And it can deceive, leading people to misrerrtember events that did occur and even to falsely remember events that never occurred, sometimes very dramatic events such as being abducted by aliens or ritually abused in satanic cults.