Changing memories

Here’s a fascinating insight, gleaned by Beth at Headrush from Mind Wide Open.

Whenever you remember something, you are actually changing the memory of it. When you remember something by thinking about it or reliving the event, you’re essentially creating a whole new memory based on the old one, plus everything that’s happened in between that has shaped you and new associations that may happen since you’re remembering the event in a different context: All of our remembered pasts are transformed by the present.

Whoa. I think that’s an argument for paying attention to the present and not living in the past!

6 thoughts on “Changing memories

  1. Piers

    And if our memories are always being updated/respun, isn’t it also an argument that it’s impossible to live completely in the past? Makes me feel kind of “of the moment”! 🙂

    [It’s also – grimly – an argument to distrust psychotherapy style questions of the “tell me how you felt?” ilk]

  2. Aleah

    So that time I got really drunk and fell off the mechanical bull, I might have actually been a star in a one woman rodeo. Yes, this is how I am remembering it.


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