Remember When? … No, You Don’t


REminderElizabeth LoftusTEDTalk about false memory is quite the shared item lately …

The evidence continues to mount that our memories, which we continue to view as the official record of our lives, are not all they are cracked up to be.

As one of the many who tend to insist on saying things like “I remember what I said“, as though that makes my version of reality an inviolate truth to be enshrined for all time, I find the things we are learning about memory fascinating.

Memory is one of our perceptions and is similar to viewing something.  The police will always ask “Who saw what happened?” at the scene of an accident or a crime … and the lawyers will always destroy that same eye-witness testimony in court.  We are less in possession of The Truth than we are comfortable admitting. 

We remember what we think has happened …

We remember what we wish has happened …

We remember what we perceive has happened …

We just do not always remember what actually happened …

Does truth lie in our memories?  

Maybe to a degree, like that smidgen of truth that lies in most stereotyping.  We do not simply make up our memories, but we remember not what was, but a version of what was.

When you insist during a discussion that you remember something, keep in mind that the important question is NOT “WHAT do you remember?“, but “HOW do you remember?

So the next time someone says “Don’t you remember that?” … say ” … MAYBE …“:).

Desperately seeking a fleeting memory of something not real in the Heartland ….

John