Memory is essentially an activation of neural networks inside the brain, which are dynamic in nature.
We can form memories as infants, but we do not have the ability to store them until we are at least two years of age. It is also a fact that we cannot remember being babies. According to studies, if we have early memories of us being infants, it is likely that they are fabricated memories.
We all can form complex false memories in us, and it can even impact our decision making and future behavior. Planting false memories in a person can be used to tackle certain disorders like obesity and alcoholism.
Memory researchers have concluded that it is possible to induce fictional memories of the past in volunteers and even make them believe in some past criminal deeds that never happened.
False memories are a challenge in legal cases, as they are indistinguishable from real memories, with any distortion being undetectable.
Certain regression therapies where patients confront their buried childhood memories are prone to ‘implantation’ of false memories in their minds.
Any memory before the age of three is likely to be false or having some fictional details, while memories that are fluid, coherent and detailed, like watching a documentary, can also be made up.
But whether they are true or false, memories have the ability to bring us happiness and shared experiences with our loved ones.
Studies revealed that the circuits of neurons that store our earliest memories are not eliminated by neurogenesis—the growth of whole new neurons - but that they are wholly restructured, making it difficult to recall first memories.
This means that some childhood memories are missing while others persist in a patchy way.
Food memories are formed unconsciously and can create certain curious associations and preferences in our life. It adds nostalgia and emotional meaning to our recollection of the experience.
The smells and tastes of the past infuse wonder, colour and depth to our life.