We use our memories to share stories, learn from experiences and for personal identity. But, our memories may not be as accurate as we think. Our brain adds details and or changes facts without our being aware of it. As we relate these memories to others, we unconsciously alter the facts for our audience. This in turn changes the memory itself. Why this occurs is not fully understood but there are multiple hypotheses that could explain it.
- When we describe our memories differently to different audiences it not only does the message changes, but sometimes the memory itself.
- A theory goes that rehearsing our memories of past events can temporarily make those memories malleable.
- Remembering is an act of storytelling which is only as reliable as the most recent story we told ourselves.
“What’s worse, we’re often guilty of changing the facts and adding false details to our memories without even realising.”