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Can you trust your earliest childhood memories?

Legal Issues

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.

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Can you trust your earliest childhood memories?

Can you trust your earliest childhood memories?

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190516-why-you-cannot-trust-your-earliest-childhood-memories

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Childhood Memories

Memory is essentially an activation of neural networks inside the brain, which are dynamic in nature.

While we treasure our earliest childhood memories, feeling nostalgic about what we remember as an infant. We can form memories as an infant, 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 a baby. According to studies, if we have early memories of us being an infant, it is likely that they are fabricated memories.

Memory Distortion

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 deed that never happened.

Legal Issues

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.

True Or False

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.

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Why early years seem longer
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False memories are common

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False memories have benefits

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.

Memory conformity

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.

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