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Can you trust your memory?

Feb 06, 2014

Can you trust your memory?Research suggests that your brain updates your memories to make them fit your current situation.

The researchers gave participants a three-part task to see how their memory reacted. First, they had to try to remember the position of an object against a background photo. Then they had to put the object in the same place on the screen, but against a new background. Finally, they were shown the first background again and asked to pick the original location from three options: the correct one, the place they picked when putting the object on the new background, and a new third location.

Everyone who took part chose the place they put it when looking at the second background, not where it was originally. This suggests that they had updated the original memory with information from the second step.

Donna Jo Bridge, who led the research, says that the same thing might happen with our other memories. For example, it could create the illusion of love at first sight: 'When you think back to when you met your current partner, you may recall this feeling of love and euphoria,' she suggested. 'But you may be projecting your current feelings back to the original encounter with this person.'

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