PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Were you at Forbes Field for Mazeroski’s World Series home run? Maybe you were there for the Immaculate Reception at Three Rivers and you can tell someone detail for detail everything that happened. Well, may be you weren’t there and your memory is tricking you. A new study claims that false memories affect everyone.
Associate Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Dr. Mark Wheeler talked to KDKA Radio’s John Shumway to explain why our brain creates memories.
Dr. Wheeler says that we are bombarded with so much information every day and “most of it is just not very important.” Of course some of our memories are important.
“What we tend to do is just remember bits and pieces that has special importance, later on we want to remember that information, we go back in and reconstruct the memory,” Wheeler says.
When this happens, we have to fill in some spaces and that’s when we can create a false memory.
It is something that happens to everyone and Dr. Wheeler says it’s a way we adapt to all the information we get every day. “It makes sense, instead of remembering every little bit of information we remember the highlights. He adds that as time goes by we may fill in gaps of our memories with what other people say. “It happens a lot in childhood you hear stories about what people are experiencing in the family for example and you were never there but you got a perfectly formed memory of having been in that experience.”
Dr. Wheeler stresses that creating false memories is a natural thing. “It’s probably good. I don’t think you’d really want to remember everything. There are just lots of unimportant things that happen in our lives and lots of maybe not very good things that we don’t want to always have to remember in vivid detail.”
Listen to Larry Richert and John Shumway every weekday from 5 to 9am on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.