Encyclopedia of Pain

2007 Edition

Accuracy and Reliability of Memory

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29805-2_27


The distinction between accuracy and reliability of memory is important for studies of pain memory. Reliability is determined by the correlation between the report of pain at the time of its occurrence, e.g. a score on a rating scale, and the estimate of that score at a later time (the remembered pain). In studies with a group of people, the correlation preserves the relative order of the magnitude of pain and its recall. Accuracy refers to the extent of agreement between records of the original event and the corresponding memory. Under certain conditions, it is possible to assess accuracy for an individual; which is not possible for reliability. Also, according to this distinction, memories may be reliable but not accurate.

 Pain Memory

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007