Ten energetic folks met last night at Albuquerque’s North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center to discuss the malleability of memory and its implications. Research findings increasingly indicate that our memories are not explicit copies of the events they represent.
Research increasingly indicates that our memories are not explicit, unchanging recordings. Sensory-perceptual processes filter what is initially stored. Each time you recall a memory, it is modified. Counterintuitively, frequently recalled memories—especially those we compare with others’ tellings and media representations—change over time.
Resources we had reviewed before the discussion included the following:
- How Reliable is Your Memory? (17 minutes)
- Memory Hackers (1-hour, if you don’t have an hour, view this excerpt)
- Extra resources: TED Talks Memory Playlist
The following questions guided our discussion:
- Are there memorable events you and others experienced when you were young that the others remember significantly differently than you do? Is your memory more accurate (less biased or altered) than theirs?
- Have you ever encountered evidence that one of your long-held memories was inaccurate? Can you share an example?
- What, if any, evolutionary value might there be to having a highly malleable memory?
- If illusory memories are so common, what implications might there be for
– criminal justice, eye-witness testimonies, etc.?
– personal relationships?
– self-perception (of current vs remembered selves, for example)