By Naseerah Nanabhai
How many times have you thought you left your keys or cell phone somewhere, but in reality, you did not or could swear you switched the washing machine on before going to work but come home and realize you didn’t.
Often, we find ourselves in situations where we firmly believe that we had completed a task or duty, but we did not. This relates to the psychological term called false memories. It is a reminiscence that seems real in your mind but is a fabricated thought.
Most false memories are not malicious or even intentionally hurtful. In other cases, they may contain elements of fact that have been distorted by interfering information or other memory distortions.
While stress and anxiety may lead to false memories, they are not the sole reason behind them. False memories are caused when actual memories are combined with new ideas of your own or others around you. People may forget the source of information as the content during the process, and the source becomes dissociated.
False memories do not have significant consequences, but a false memory can have a severe implication in some scenarios. Time plays a major role in creating false memories, with research showing that false memories form more readily when time has passed and the original memory has faded.
Although it might be challenging to believe, everyone has false memories at some point or another. Memory is not as reliable as we think, and false memories can form quite easily, even among those with a good memory.