We rely on our memory every day - but it might be more flawed than you think.
A new ASAP Science video flashes 15 words on the screen, and asks you to remember them and write down as any as you can.
The words are fairly basic and short; they include things like soda, bitter and chocolate.
Try it out:
Once the words are done flashing, the video explains that you might have recalled some of the latter words, such as “tooth,” “tart” and “pie” - because these were at the end of the sequence – as well as the word “sweet”.
But this is where things get weird.
The video explains:
Surprisingly, the majority of people are actually likely to write down the word “sweet” even though it wasn’t on the list.
This is what we call a false memory. It’s a psychological phenomenon where a person remembers something that didn’t occur.
Memories are first formed in the hippocampus, which is one of the only areas where new neurons are regularly made, the video explains.
Information is saved by altering neurons and “creating synapses and connections”. But often, it only focuses on the bigger details.
If, between experiencing the event and trying to recall it afterwards, you’re introduced to new information – such as someone else giving a differing account of the same thing – it can alter your memory. And the more you recall this new memory, the further embedded it becomes in your brain.