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How Your Brain Can Create False Memories

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-a-false-memory-2795193

verywellmind.com

How Your Brain Can Create False Memories
False memories are distorted or even fabricated recollections of events. Learn more about how your brain makes up memories and the impact they have.

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False memories

False memories

A false memory refers to a distorted recall of an event.

They can be completely unreal. In some cases, false memories may comprise aspects of the fact that have been distorted by interfering information or other memory distortions.

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Characteristics of a false memory

Common elements of false memory include:

  • Mental experiences that people think are authentic and exact representations of past events.
  • Meaningless specifics (thinking you hung your keys near the door when you got home) to much more meaningful and serious ones (thinking you can provide details related to a crime, because you think you saw someone at the scene.)
  • False memory is not the same thing as the common memory errors. A false memory is not just a simple error, because it relates to a level of confidence in the legitimacy of the memory.

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False memories: what causes them

  • A false memory can be influenced by aspects like misinformation and misattribution of the original source of the information.
  • Existing knowledge and other memories can also interfere with the creation and development of a new memory, causing the recollection of an event to be mistaken or entirely false.
  • It is also possible to induce false memories through suggestion.

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The Audience-Tuning Effect

Storytellers form a different memory of a story they are reciting, due to mutation in how differently it is told to audiences each time, and how much of an artistic licence is used to change certain details of the story.

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