False Memories Can Be Reversed

Source: Brianna Abbott, "False Memories Can Be Planted and Then Reversed, Researchers Find," Wall Street Journal, 22 March 2021.

"The work confirms previous research on the malleability of memories while pointing to potential techniques for recognizing and rooting them out."

"Some research suggests that true memories tend to be stronger for people than false ones, Nancy Dennis, a memory researcher and an associate professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University. Yet people can also have vivid false memories or weaker true memories, making them difficult to tease apart on an individual basis."

To undo the false memories, the researchers "asked for the origin of each recollection." In other words, what was the original source for the memory? Was it a conversation, a photograph, or something else? And they ask the person "to remember events could lead to the creation of false memories." Thus, the person becomes aware of how a false memory could be planted and then apply that information to their own memories.

My Take

This is important when dealing with scrupulosity. People tend to focus on their past and often rewrite their history, often in a negative way. Things "remembered" long after the events should be viewed as suspect. "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26).

"He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness, deceit" (Proverbs 12:17). Truth is reinforced when examined. Lies are exposed by inconsistencies.

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