A university professor's lecture in Tauranga on the intricacies of memory has received a "record number" of registrations.

More than 200 people have signed up to University of Waikato Professor of psychology Maryanne Garry's free public lecture, The Trouble with Memory, on August 6.

The university said the number of people who had registered their interest was a record for the university's Tauranga lecture series.

Garry said her lecture addressed the fact memory was not the faithful recorder of experiences as people might think.


The university professor said memory caused problems because it often lapsed.

She said memory lapses could be something as simple as forgetting to pick up milk from the supermarket to more serious circumstances where the memory was affected after a traumatic experience such as a car crash or being the victim of a serious crime.

But Garry said it was when memory could translate into allegations of crime that could prove troublesome and lead to wrongful convictions.

"People will say, 'It's him! I could never forget that face'," she said.

But Garry said a memory of a traumatic experience differed from something like a childhood memory.

"It is remembered vividly with emotion and detail," she said.

People often noticed only a fraction of the information when the brain records a memory, Garry said.

And once a memory is recorded a biochemical process begins in the brain, she said.


"There is a cocktail of chemicals that start building the memory in your brain cells called neurons," she said.

"Memories are quite fragile during the first few hours that process happens. Every time you think of that memory, they become fragile again because the process has to happen all over again."

Garry said it would be her first time lecturing in Tauranga.

"I am very excited it's going to be fun, but scientific," she said.

What: The Trouble with Memory
When: Monday, August 6, 6pm to 7pm
Where: Trinity Wharf, Tauranga
Who: University of Waikato Professor of psychology Maryanne Garry
Registrations are essential