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Imagined Memory

 

Explanations > Theories > Imagined Memory

Description | Research | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

Although we reconstruct memory, we can often tell the difference between what is a real memory and what is an imagined memory.

Real memories include more:

  • Sensory data. We recall colors, how things physically felt, smells, etc.
  • Detail, including irrelevant stuff. Where books were on the bookshelf. What a person at the bus stop looked like. etc.
  • Association, such that the memories logically link to other memories and events.
  • Logic. Imagined memories can be impossible.

We can also get confused and turn an imagined memory into what we think is a real memory. Repeated thinking about something can add the necessary detail.

Example

Police cross-questioning witnesses can implant false memories. Hypnotic techniques are particularly susceptible. 

Police also know what to look for in liars.

So what?

Detect lying by asking about sensory data, detail, etc.

See also

False Memory Syndrome

References

Johnson, Hashtroudi and Lindsay (1993)

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