Memory bias: how selective recall can impact your memories - Ness Labs - Deepstash

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Memory bias

Memory bias

A memory bias distorts the content of your memory.

Our memories are reconstructed during recall. The process of recall makes them prone to manipulation and errors.

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The many faces of the memory bias

  • Rosy retrospection bias. We often remember the past as having been better than it really was.
  • Consistency bias. We wrongly remember our past attitudes and behaviour as similar to our present attitudes and behaviour.
  • Mood-congruent memory bias. We better remember memories that are consistent with our current mood.
  • Hindsight or knew-it-all-along bias. We consider past events as being predictable.
  • Egocentric bias. We recall past events in a self-serving manner. We remember a caught fish as bigger than it was.
  • Availability bias. We think the memories that come easily to mind is more representative than it really is.
  • Recency effect. We best remember the most recent information.
  • Choice-supportive bias. We remember chosen options as better than rejected options.
  • Fading effect bias. Our emotions associated with negative memories fade faster than our feelings associated with pleasant memories.
  • Confirmation bias. We tend to interpret memories in a way that confirms our prior hypotheses of personal beliefs.

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The benefits of our faulty memory

The limits of our memory serve us well in many respects.

  • Limited memories are useful trade-off to allow us to function and survive. We have thousands of memories, for example, of tables. If we recall all the events related to a table, it will create mass confusion with data overload.
  • Flawed memories may also help us to cope with our past and navigate our future. It may give us more confidence in our past decisions or make us remember happier events.

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