10 October 2016
Some people recollect memories that they never even experienced, leaving them in doubt of the state of their mental health.
This is a worry they shouldn’t even be giving thoughts to considering what they are experiencing is quite natural with the way the human brain recalls memories.
Human memory does not operate like a video tape that can be rewound and rewatched, with every viewing revealing the same events in the same order. In fact, memories are reconstructed every time we recall them.
Aspects of the memory can be altered, added or deleted altogether with each new recollection. This is the simple reason some people experience the phenomenon of false memory, where people have clear memories of an event that they never experienced.
False memory is surprisingly common, but a number of factors can increase its frequency. One of which was recently found out in a recent research by Ciara Greene, an Assistant Professor at University College Dublin.
What was found is that being very interested in a topic can make you twice as likely to experience a false memory about that topic.
Though not yet proven, some researchers believe that greater knowledge makes a person more likely to incorrectly recognise new information that is similar to previously experienced information.
According to this account, experts’ sense of accountability for their judgments causes them to “fill in the gaps” in their knowledge with plausible, but false, information.
Today, October 10 is marked as the World Mental Health Day. It is a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organisation with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.