Your clearest memory cannot be trusted; not in a court room, not in the witness box, nor when sworn on an oath.
However, for professionals to simply propose such a thing is to shake the pillars of our justice system so firmly that some people in our community will go to extreme lengths to suppress any suggestion of it.
Two people who walk this precarious plank above the bubbling cauldron of vitriol, and accept the occasional death threats which go with the territory, are scientist-academics Elizabeth Loftus and Don Thomson.
"People fight dirty in this war," Professor Loftus said.
An American, she represents the courageous face of what is, in a country where 31 states still allow handguns to be openly carried in public places, a dangerous profession.
She is visiting Canberra from Irvine, California, where she is a Distinguished Professor, to deliver the ANU School Of Psychology's annual lecture on the highly topical subject "The Fiction of Memory".
Her work, together with that of emeritus professor and barrister Don Thomson, from Edith Cowan University in Perth, fundamentally challenges our beliefs both about the fairness of a justice system which relies intrinsically on the accuracy of eyewitness accounts, and even the clarity of our own, most powerful memories.
Critics of their work are many, and very nasty.
The human mind doesn't work like a videotape.Professor Elizabeth Loftus
In the US, Professor Loftus endured a five-year legal battle to clear her name and has had a police guard at her lectures. Such has been the level of malice directed at her that she was accused of abusing her children - "and I don't even have any kids," she said.
Even here in Australia, Professor Thomson has been called a paedophile sympathiser and has had his family threatened.
After giving a talk in Melbourne where he spoke about the fallibility of memory, and how mistakes are made in regard to allegations of sexual abuse because of the potential for a victim to have an imperfect recollection of an incident, he was followed to his car by a group of women and physically attacked.
Professor Thomson described such attacks as the personal cost of ensuring the justice system is openly challenged by cognitive science.
"If we are going to have a justice system that functions as justice for all, we have to ensure that those things, these types of incidents, do not colour our system," he said.
"And it is a concern to me that juries are not immune [to bias]. They come with particular beliefs. And I also have a concern about judges. But juries, in particular, are easily influenced."
He cited a famous case in Western Australia where a woman had claimed her father had sexually abused her decades earlier and the jury had difficulty coming to a decision.
"Two of the women asked to talk to the judge and said: 'We can't point to any evidence but we just think he [the accused] is a nasty, wicked man'," he said.
In her academic career spanning 50 years, Professor Loftus has written 23 books and published more than 500 scientific documents on the fallibility of human memory.
She has served as an expert witness in hundreds of cases, demonstrating how even the most compelling eyewitness accounts can potentially deliver unreliable testimony.
"The human mind doesn't work like a videotape," she said.
"We can't just spool back and recall exactly what happened because there are so many elements involved in that memory reconstruction."
The science strongly supports this assertion.
The US-based Innocence Project is a not-for-profit set up to free people who have been wrongly convicted. It gathers information on people who believe they were convicted and jailed, some for lengthy periods, largely on the basis of circumstantial and/or witness testimony.
Since 1992, hundreds of people have been freed on the basis of irrefutable DNA evidence.
"In studying the cases, it was found that over 70 per cent of those exonerated by DNA evidence had been imprisoned as a direct result of faulty human memory, particularly in rape cases," Professor Loftus said.
In one of the most interesting international research projects conducted recently, scientists and academics from Britain, the US and Canada analysed the rich memories of 423 subjects. Around 30 per cent were found to be false.
The professors also offer precautionary advice for police investigators who are presented with what appears to be a clear-cut case of a victim identifying an offender from a line-up or a photograph.
"We and others in the legal profession have developed best practices that can be put in place at key times, such as during the time of the identification test, and during the time of the police line-up," Professor Loftus said.