Link #61: You Can Remember Things Which Never Occurred!

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Chain of Facts - A Connection of Facts

Link #61: You Can Remember Things Which Never Occurred!

Brain memory
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While it’s true that humans have learned to control flies’ minds, this is only because their brains are so simple. The human brain is incomparable to anything else in nature. In fact, the human brain is one of the most complex organs known to exist anywhere in nature.

This is one of the reasons why we are still trying to make sense of how our brains work. For instance, even though you may think that if you remember something then it must be true, it’s possible that that memory never really occurred. That’s true folks; you can remember things which may have never occurred!

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How Can You Remember Something That Never Occurred?

Rätsel_der_Psyche,_Margret_Hofheinz-Döring,_Öl,_1970_(WV-Nr.5010)
Psychic mystery oil painting by Margret Hofheinz-Döring (1910–1994). Image credit: Brigitte Mauch cc3.0

It is possible to remember something that never occurred mainly because we are influenced by more than just incidents and events. We read stories, watch things, listen to others, have opinions and even fantasize.

Each of these elements can end up having an impact on what you remember and whether it is accurate or not. Moreover, whether your memory is accurate or not depends on which part of the brain you are accessing for it.

Factual memories are accessed from a part of your brain that is known as Medial Temporal Lobe or MTL which is located at the base of your brain. Over a period of time, memories in your MTL gradually shift to Frontal Parietal Network or FPN which is located at the top of your brain.

The memories that you access from FPN are more general in nature. These memories contain impressions and feelings as opposed to facts. Memories that are accessed from this part of the brain may not be accurate even though they will feel like memories from the MTL part of the brain.


Can You Strengthen Your Memory by Remembering Things?

Recall
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Scientists and researchers have even discovered that you can actually strengthen your memory by remembering things. You know how you read something again and again when studying for your exam. Similarly, you must try to repeat something in your mind again and again to ensure that you remember it.

People often refer to this as mugging something up. Well, this is a highly effective way of making sure that you remember what you are studying. The reason for this is that our brains actually strengthen memories by this process. However, this is as true for made up memories as for real ones.

What does this mean? This means that the more number of times you recall the made up memory, the more real it will seem later. Scientists proved this through an experiment done with people in a museum.

They showed people certain exhibits and then showed them photos of exhibits. Some photos were of exhibits that they had seen while others were of other exhibits. After this, there were three sessions where the people were asked to recall which exhibits they had seen.

By the end of it all, many people claimed to have physically seen exhibits that they had only seen in photographs! Here, the additional influence was only from photographs. Imagine how our memories could be affected when our brains are influenced by photos, videos, text, other people and our fantasies!




Can you Guess the Next Link in the Chain?

What will be the next link in our Chain of Facts? Think you might know? Scroll down to add a comment below with your best guess.

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You can view the full list of links in the chain here.


Sources:

http://pss.sagepub.com/content/24/4/537
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconstructive_memory
http://brainblogger.com/2007/11/25/how-false-memories-appear-true/
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/feb/21/speak-memory/
http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/02/reconstructing-the-past-how-recalling-memories-alters-them.php

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