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Ever find yourself caught up in a vivid memory of an event that, you later realize with confusion, didn’t really happen the way you thought? According to new research by psychologists at the University of Warwick in the U.K., you are far from alone.
The study demonstrated that about half of individuals will come to believe a fictional event occurred if they are told about that event and then repeatedly imagine it happening.
More than 400 people participated in the study, led by professor Kimberley Wade
The study experimented with implanting fake (but relatively harmless) memories, such as taking a childhood hot-air balloon ride into the minds of study participants. Researchers told them about the imaginary events as if they were real, and about 30 percent of participants appeared to “remember” it happening, even elaborating on how it occurred and describing details of what it was like. Another 23 percent showed signs of accepting the story to some degree, the researchers said.
In order to fit the definition of a false memory, they looked for instances where participants went beyond the “facts” initially told to them. “As participants move from saying ‘I do not remember that’ to ‘Now I remember … ,’ they must report additional imagery or otherwise elaborate beyond the suggested material,” the authors wrote in the study, published in the journal Memory. “Thus, approximately one-third of participants showed evidence of a false memory, and more than half showed evidence of believing that the event occurred in the past.”
originally posted by: eisegesis
It's "the only evidence I have is my own memory" effect.