Our Remarkable Brain: False Memories Explained

basics of false memories

How reliable is your memory? Childhood events, recalling accidents, any number of important things that happened in your life. You trust that they are exactly how you recall them. But, it is possible to have false memories of these events. These are the basics of false memories.

The Inception of False Memories

False memories can be different than the way they occurred in real life. Or they can be complete fabrications. These types of memories can seem so real; they are vivid, and illicit emotional reaction. You are confident that you remember correctly, and it would be difficult for anyone to convince you otherwise. That is how sure you are of them.

Many factors can contribute to false memories. Sometimes the way you see an event affects the way you remember it. Your perception is askew; therefore, your memories are askew.

Your own bias may affect the way you remember something. Especially if it is something, you don’t quite understand. Your brain will try to connect to known points and draw conclusions that may be inaccurate.

False memories may occur when you recognize something similar, but not the same. Your brain may try to make the connection that both are the same when they are not. Similarly, a false memory is created when you see something your brain recognizes as familiar, but the reason why is false.

The risks of false memories are not predictable since people have different levels of suggestibility. Sleep deprivation also provides the right environment to produce false memories. Since sleep is when the brain consolidates memories into long-term storage, losing sleep can lead to problems retrieving the memories.

Final Thoughts

These basics of false memories may shed some light on your own remembered experiences. The memory is not infallible. Your memories are a result of your own brain’s unique makeup of experiences and knowledge. Sometimes they paint a different picture than what really happened. Sometimes how you remember something is just as telling as if you remember it.