Saturday, 24 September 2011

Memories you cannot swear by

Conflicting accounts of the past may be due to the way our memory works, rather than lying, writes Amy Corderoy:

As the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York passed last weekend, many people paused to remember where they were at the moment of the attacks.

Most people have a story; watching late-night television news, holidaying overseas and wondering where the next attack might be, rushing to tell friends of the disaster.

These types of "flashbulb" memories are the most vivid in our minds. But what if something we feel as such a vivid memory could be a fiction?
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Research is starting to show that false memories are more common than most people think. And memories such as those of September 11 – highly charged emotional situations from many years ago – are perfect candidates....