Deception of memory: Can our brains remember events that have not happened in the past?

Perhaps, at least as the latest studies in psychology and cognition tell us.

Since the mid-1990s, we have accumulated a vast array of studies and research that have explained the mechanisms behind our memory for events that never happened.

In 1995, researchers Luftos and Jacqueline Pickrell (1995) published their famous study results, later known as "Lost in the Mall."

In this study, which included 24 participants, the researchers collaborated with family members to write a description of four events related to the co-child's life.

Three of these events were real events, but the fourth event was a story about the loss of a subscriber in a mall.

The story can be summed up as follows: at the age of five or six, the child was lost for a long time in a commercial complex, which raised his concern and caused him to cry.

But in the end he was rescued by an old man, and eventually he finally met his family.

(We must remember that the family members confirmed that such an experiment - the loss of a subscriber in a commercial complex - never happened).

After reading the description of the four events, participants wrote details that they can remember about each of these events.

Two weeks later, they were summoned for an interview, in which they were asked to state everything they could remember about the four incidents.

A week or two later, the participants were called back for a second time and asked to say everything they could remember about the events.

After the last interview, it was found that 6 of the 24 participants had a complete or partial perception of their loss in the commercial complex.

The impact of the memory is so different that some of them suffered from it in their memory. "I still remember walking in the changing room and finding out that my mother was not in the section where she said she would be.

Research technology that relies on information from family members to fabricate or evoke a false memory about childhood experiences is now called loss-in-the-mall technique.

By pushing participants to remember real events with different events, researchers have been able to create the wrong memory for a large number of different events.

For example, in a similar study of Heaps and Nash (2001), researchers were able to induce some participants to believe that they had been saved from the inevitable sinking by the savior in childhood.

It is clear, then, that research has shown that humans can develop beliefs and memories of events that never occurred in their lives.

One of the factors that play an important role in creating the wrong memory is the power of imagination.

Simply imagine the past differently from what would have changed how it would remind you.

Several studies have shown that imagining a particular event significantly increases our confidence that this event happened in childhood, a phenomenon known as "Imagination inflation"
(Garry & Polaschek 2000; Thomas & amp; others 2003).

How can imagining a particular event - an event that never happened - create a strong and personally convincing memory? There are several factors that can play a role in this section.

To begin with, imagine a certain event by repeating it makes the event more familiar.

People then misinterpret this sense of familiarity as evidence that the event actually happened (Sharman & others 2004).

Second, in addition to our growing sense of familiarity, people often experience an experience called confusion or confusions - Source Confusion.

This means that there may be confusion in the brain as to whether the recovered memory is due to a real event or an imagined event.

With time, people may mistakenly attribute them to imagining the event as a reminder of a real and realistic event.

Thirdly, the more imaginative the experience is, the more likely that people will confuse the imagined event as a real event (Thomas & others 2003).

The vivid poetic and cognitive details associated with the imagined events can give us a stronger feeling that they are close to real events.

It is clear, then, that simple manipulations such as suggestion and visualization exercises can increase our offer to remember events that never happened.

But in the end, we must remember that in fact the memory of humans is often accurate, especially when it comes to the juiciness of the events that have occurred in our lives.

When our memory is distorted or unintentionally distorted in our daily lives, this experience is often limited in a few information.

However, the sudden ease that characterizes the distortion of some memory images may sometimes be worrisome.

It is possible for false and distorted memory to make us feel real and realistic.

Source : 

Psychology Today
Hockenbury, Don H., and Sandra E. Hockenbury. Psychology. New York: Worth, 2008

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