Duke University Alumni Magazine

Coins, Real and Imagined

Below are images of real U.S. coins (left) and of a set representing what people typically draw using recall. If you’re like most people, you drew all the coins similar to an idealized coin with properties no coins may really have. For example, you might have inscribed a value on the “head” side of the coin, or faced Lincoln the same way as the other figures, or drawn “In God We Trust” across the top of each coin. So, Rubin asks, if you can’t remember the coins you see every day, what about the really important stuff?

actual coins recalled coins
Actual coins Typical recalled coins

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