In The Memory Illusion, psychological scientist and memory expert Dr Julia Shaw uses the latest research to show the astonishing variety of ways in which our memory can be led astray.


She shows why we can sometimes misappropriate other people's memories, subsequently believing them to be our own. She explains how police officers can imprison an innocent man for life on the basis of many denials and just one confession. She demonstrates the way radically false memories can be deliberately implanted, leading people to believe they had tea with Prince Charles, or committed crimes that never happened. And she reveals how, in spite of all this, we can improve our memory through simple awareness of its fallibility.


The Memory Illusion offers a unique insight into the human brain, challenging you to question how much you can ever truly know about yourself.

Learn more about Dr Julia Shaw at drjuliashaw.com

International Publishers

REVIEWS & Comments

Get in touch

AMAZON.de Bestseller

"Shaw’s debut book is a spryly paced, fun, sometimes frightening exploration of how we remember

— and why everyone remembers things that never truly happened."- Pacific Standard

 Select international covers

CAnadian National Bestseller

"A great book ... Julia Shaw explains in an exciting, comprehensible and often funny way, why our brain can not help but to often forget." ZEIT Wissen


"[Memory] is ... woefully easy to screw up — a point that criminal psychologist Julia Shaw elegantly demonstrates in her new popular book... Shaw’s debut book is a spryly paced, fun, sometimes frightening exploration of how we remember — and why everyone remembers things that never truly happened.”  Pacific Standard


"Truly fascinating.” Steve Wright BBC Radio 2


"...she explains her thought-provoking memory research... which explores the science behind false memories, self-deception and how our memory system really works." Toronto Star


"illuminating and instructive."  The Tablet


"For her book, Shaw deserves a big compliment. She has comprehensively portrayed a wide field, and in an exciting, comprehensible way, despite some of the issues being very complicate...  Julia Shaw shows highly understandably why memory can trick us... After reading it is clear that one should not rely on supposedly safe memories - neither in themselves nor in others. " Philosophy Magazine


"A brilliantly written book that makes the reader think about his or her life in a whole new way." P.M. Magazine

UK Random House
Canada Doubleday
Germany Hanser Verlag
Portugal Temas e Debates
Italy Mauri Spagnol
Taiwan Cite Publishing
Japan Kodansha
China Beijing Wisdom & Culture Co.
Netherlands Prometheus
Russia Atticus
Serbia Laguna
Czech Republic Paseka
Korean Hyeonamsa
Turkey Beyaz Bayku
s

Buy the book

Shortlisted for

Science Book of the Year 2017

"...her book is about more: learning strategies, hypnosis, digital amnesia, sleep, distortions of thought, and how all this affects  memory. All this is well explained and provided with many examples from everyday life and explained by spectacular processes". Volker Wildermuth, Germany radio culture


"... an exciting, funny and instructive book that should be a mandatory read for journalists, police, prosecutors, judges and all others who have to work with their own and others' memories." Rheinische Post


"From the neurological foundations of memory, to the various types of memory, and unusual phenomena such as flashbacks, Julia Shaw guides the reader amusingly and with a light pen through modern memory research. (...) Whoever is looking for a broad introduction to memory research should reach for this book. " Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


"A book which deeply disturbingly calls our memory world into question." SRF Kulturplatz


"A very topical and very controversial topic... Very exciting: Almost a manual for psychotherapy." Markus Lanz, ZDF


"Hard to believe and quite scary how malleable our memory is." WDR "Westart"



Dr Julia Shaw is one of only a handful of experts in the world who conduct research on complex memory errors called rich false memories.

Dr Julia Shaw delivers talks, police interview training, advises the military on memory strategies, works as an expert witness for criminal and civil trials, does business and learning workshops, and is a regular contributor to
Scientific American and Der Spiegel.


She is regularly featured as an expert on TV, radio, and in international newspapers.