False memory is a psychological phenomenon whereby an individual recalls an event that never happened, or an actual occurrence substantially differently from the way it transpired.
In other words, a false memory could either be an entirely imaginary fabrication, or a distorted recollection of an actual event. Moreover, false memories are distinct from simple errors in recollection.
Firstly, an individual who holds a false memory maintains some certitude in the veracity of the memory. Secondly, a false memory deals not with forgetting something that actually happened, but with remembering what had never taken place.
Instances of this phenomenon may range from the mundane—such as remembering that you ate breakfast when you actually did not, to the serious—such as falsely recalling that you were assaulted by your boss.
HOW ARE FALSE MEMORIES FORMED OR MADE?
Memories are complex. While you might imagine a memory as a black or white element, the truth is memories are subject to change, malleable, and often unreliable.
Events are moved from your brain’s temporary memory to permanent storage while you sleep. The transition, however, isn’t absolute. Elements of the memory may be lost. This is where false memories can begin.
IS THERE A GROUP WHICH IS MORE LIKELY TO HAVE FALSE MEMORIES?
Memory isn’t permanent. Indeed, it’s pliable and often ever-changing. Certain people or events may make you more likely to develop false memories. These include:
If you witness a crime or an accident, your testimony is important — but not conclusive. That’s because experts and law enforcement officials know memories and recollections can and do change, whether through suggestion or the passage of time.
Any gaps in events may be filled in by your memory, turning a reliable recall into a faulty one.
People who have a history of trauma, depression, or stress may be more likely to produce false memories. Negative events may produce more false memories than positive or neutral ones.
Individuals with Obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD) may have a memory deficit or poor memory confidence.
They may be more likely to create false memories because they don’t have confidence in their own memories. This often leads to the repetitive or compulsive behaviors that are associated with this disorder.
As both you and a memory age, details about that memory may be lost. The gist of a memory becomes stronger, while the details fade away.
For example, you may remember you went to the beach on your honeymoon, but you don’t remember the name of the hotel, what the weather was like, or even the city you stayed in.
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