The Games Memories Play

The Games Memories Play

People have been making stuff up for as​ long as​ anyone can imagine,​ perhaps even longer. the​ human mind is​ capable of​ incredible feats of​ creativity and artistic talent,​ though this is​ not usually applied to​ something as​ critical as​ a​ person's memories. Yet,​ if​ you examine the​ witnesses,​ you'll notice a​ few things that are amiss. Their sworn statements,​ their testimony while under cross-examination,​ and what they said years after the​ fact can all differ drastically,​ with details being altered,​ deleted,​ or​ added seemingly at​ random. Things can get even more confusing for people who have undergone counseling or​ treatment due to​ some form of​ psychological trauma,​ because there are usually even more alterations.

This is​ not because they're making this up as​ they go,​ of​ course. at​ least,​ they may not be doing it​ consciously. the​ state of​ their mental health is​ not entirely fractured either,​ as​ even the​ sanest and most “normal” people can have memories that are altered drastically with each retelling of​ it. Certainly,​ people with certain mental health issues might have more “false” memories than others,​ but that doesn't mean that their minds are the​ only ones capable of​ such things. the​ fact is,​ the​ human mind has a​ propensity to​ create false memories. That much has been known to​ medical science for decades now,​ though the​ reasons for this unusual trait have yet to​ be fully explored and,​ if​ possible,​ understood.

Human beings tend to​ have a​ lot of​ faith in​ memories that they can recall in​ detail,​ whether the​ one doing the​ recollecting is​ the​ type to​ note detail or​ not. This is​ a​ logical mechanism,​ after all. the​ more you remember about a​ certain event,​ the​ more likely it​ is​ that you were actually there and you didn't dream the​ whole thing up. However,​ if​ fiction writers are any indication,​ the​ mind is​ capable of​ creating things with as​ much vivid detail as​ anything that can be conjured up from memory. There are also times when the​ foggiest,​ least detailed memories are the​ ones that actually occurred,​ despite the​ lack of​ details that a​ person can draw on​ as​ support. the​ mechanics of​ this unusual aspect of​ memory and the​ mind have recently been put under intensive study by South Korean researchers,​ under the​ leadership of​ Hongkeun Kim of​ Daegu University.

The study discovered that there were two sections of​ the​ brain devoted to​ memory,​ with one storing the​ specific details while another stored the​ basic gist. Using common memory tricks,​ the​ team managed to​ discover that most people called on​ the​ area that stored the​ gist more often than the​ area that stored the​ specifics. Additionally,​ the​ more confident the​ person was in​ his memories,​ the​ more likely that the​ “detail” area would light up on​ a​ scan of​ the​ brain while the​ memory was being recalled.

While this does explain how the​ brain works with regards to​ memory,​ it​ does not explain the​ phenomenon of​ false memories. the​ researchers assume that it​ somehow relates to​ the​ interaction between the​ two,​ along with areas that are more closely linked to​ the​ subconscious than memory. at​ the​ moment,​ though,​ this is​ still conjecture and further study is​ needed. the​ researchers believe that,​ once understood,​ the​ knowledge can help people with memory-impairing problems,​ such as​ Alzheimer's. it​ may also improve our understanding of​ how certain disorders cause someone to​ lose recollection,​ but retain familiarity.

The Games Memories Play

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