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Are Memories Reliable? Expert Explains How They Change More Than We Realise

By Mental Health

Are memories reliable? Expert explains how they change more than we realise Robert Nash, Aston University Your memory probably isn’t as good as you think it is. We rely on our memories not only for sharing stories with friends or learning from our past experiences, but we also use it for crucial things like creating a sense of personal identity. Yet evidence shows that our memory isn’t as consistent as we’d like to believe. What’s worse, we’re often guilty of changing the facts and adding false details to our memories without even realising. To understand a bit about how remembering works, consider the “telephone game” (also known as “Chinese whispers”). In the game, one person quietly whispers a message to the person beside them, who then passes it on to the next person in line, and so on. Each time the message is relayed, some parts might be misheard or misunderstood, others might get innocently altered, improved, or forgotten. Over time the message can become very different from the original. The same can happen to our memories. There are countless reasons why tiny mistakes or embellishments might happen each time we recall past events, ranging from what we believe is…

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