We do lots of things on autopilot on a daily basis. Some mornings, we arrive at work without any recollection of leaving our home or taking the exit on the freeway – it all becomes automatic.
But most of us still trust our memory. We trust that things are as we see them, and that things happened exactly the way that we remember them happening. Admittedly, even with my experience in wrongful conviction litigation, I too thought that the concept of forgetting someone’s face, especially someone you made direct contact with, was far-fetched. It wasn’t until I had an informal conversation with Nathan Maxwell, the current fellow at the West Virginia Innocence Project, that I realized just how easy it is to have your memory distorted implicitly.