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In the game Chinese Whispers, where a certain message is passed on from person to person, it is almost always proved that the final message is completely different from the original.
The same ‘chain’ effect is happening in our memories, where certain tiny details may not be what were true, but what we wish were true, or perceived to be true.
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.
Over time the changed or mutated story seems like the original one in the storyteller's mind, something known as the Audience-Tuning Effect.
Social experiments show that people in general are stubborn about the accuracy of their memories, which may have mutated or even changed beyond recognition.
So many tiny, false details have been added to the original memory over time, that one theory says that the mere act of recalling a certain memory takes it out of the ‘freezer’ and puts it back, changing its shape and form a bit.
The result is that it is highly unlikely that our treasured memories are completely accurate.
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
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 disto...
Common elements of false memory include:
On average, people’s memories stretch back no farther than the age of three and a half.
New science suggests that when we move into adulthood, the brain must let go of muc...
From birth to our early teens, we have far more links between brain cells. The excess brain mass is very adaptable and allows children to learn very quickly.
But the adaptability comes with a price. The large and complex network in the brain is still busy growing and not as capable of forming memories efficiently as in adulthood. Consequently, long-term memories created in our first three years of life are the least stable and prone to be forgotten as we age.
We all misremember things. However, false memories are not so much mistakes but can be very detailed fantasies. Some people remember precise details of an event they attended, only to later real...
False memories are not useless. It seems that they're able to improve our mental processing.
Memories are our reality. Remembering isn't just looking up fact's from our mental files. It's more like telling stories. If we forget, we reconstruct the details, even if the details are false.
When we remember what something 'should' look like, we will often construct a memory to fit the mould.
False memories can also happen to groups and could lead to mass delusions. People were shown a fake CCTV footage of a shop robbery and discussed what they’d seen. One of the participants introduced false ideas: the thief had a gun, right? Three in four people later recounted these fabricated ‘facts’ when questioned.