Often times we appear to recall events that never really occurred or remember the details that never happened, why do we do so?
What is false memory?
A distortion of a real life experience, a dream perceived as a perplexed reality, an imagination perceived as reality, or even confusing or mixing segments of memories remembered as occurring together are a few notions of false memory.
Sometimes, we might have a hard time recalling an event as a distant memory or an illusion in the form of a dream. Was it really true?
Why does it happen?
Recent studies have shown that false memories are held by the same cells in our brain that hold the real memories. A false memory can arise due to the similarity between the memory of the real event and memory of the illusion.
For instance, a classic experiment of the effects of language on developing false memories involved a set of words related to winter: Snow, ice, wind and the like. These set of words were shown to the subjects and when they were asked if they saw the word ‘Cold’ in the list, they remembered having read it even though the list didn’t contain the word. This happened because of the similarity between the words and the misconception of having seen it even though it never existed.
False memories also affect eye-witnesses and are also seen in children.
The researchers suggest that the use of similar firing patterns to code for similar words and concepts may be a mechanism that the brain uses to increase its efficiency—storing like with like.
Many psychologists suggests that false memory can turn out to be a syndrome when recall of a false memory affects your life on an everyday basis. If this false memory completely alters the orientation of your personality and lifestyle, then it can advocate itself into a False Memory Syndrome.
Even though the reality and delusions are nowhere near, the blurred lines between them can mix their entity and make it come together, forming inaccurate notions of happenings inside your head as False Memories.
Title image: Mind-hacks