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April 10, 2011 / theslowblitz

Collective memory

I am curious as to how much of our collective memory is invented. I cannot simply dismiss eyewitness accounts, but psychology studies clearly show that memory is not as simple as storing data in a computer, and that we make up crap all the time, yet perceive the crap as real. The specific study asked participants to recall a non-existent event, so it is possible that such purposeful recall causes us to confabulate more than if we casually recall events. Yet, I think it is easy to participate in such purposeful recall when we try to recall examples that fit our perceived self-image, even as this self-image constantly changes, such that past events do not quite represent us.

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