"A false memory is a mental experience that is mistakenly taken to be a veridical representation of an event from one's personal past." http://tinyurl.com/4eaogb5
In recent years, perhaps because of a marked increase in verbal contact and reminiscing with old friends [thanks to the ease of sending and receiving voice notes with my smart phone], I have been able to start dismantling some 'false memories' ~ which is an interesting variant of nostalgia.
Many British people of around my age [and older] share a similar kind of sentimentality ~ which is especially rooted in our childhood years ~ about the extraordinary rail network that our country used to have. This network both grew to astonishing proportions and got largely dismantled in the C20th. The remnants of the many abandoned lines are now a matter of landscape archaeology.
I was reminiscing recently with a childhood friend about my [and I assumed "our"] vivid memories of watching trains trundling along the Hatfield and St.Albans Railway [ http://tinyurl.com/grxqtsf ] while inspecting WW2 army surplus vehicles parked behind the London Road Station, along with memories of catching trains to Hatfield from that station.
My friend, however, thought about it all carefully and then pointed out that, although - yes, it was true - we used to visit the army surplus dump in about 1976 [and crawl under a barbed wire fence to get in], the Hatfield and St.Albans Railway had in fact been closed down in 1951, 25 years previously, and indeed 13 years before we were even born. It was quite a shock because the memories of that line, that station, and the trains coming and going, were extremely vivid.
Has anyone else had the opportunity to dismantle 'false memories'?
My sister is just two years younger than I am. We occasionally discuss events of our youth and about 10% of my definite memories just plain didn't happen, according to her. I've come to the conclusion that there's been a lot of contribution made by my own judgements at the time. Her personality being somewhat different, she's made different judgements.
For example, the house fire which left us homeless one week before the 1956 Melbourne Olympics was catastrophic for me, not so much for her. So our memories of the few months immediately after that are completely out of step.
I went through decades of adult life absolutely convinced that I saw U2 play at St.Albans City Hall in 1980 when the band had only one album out and were not yet famous. Recent conversations with the person I 'remembered' attending the concert with lead me to believe that we, in fact, missed the concert ~ something about which he has no doubt whatsoever ~ and that my visual recollections of the concert I never attended come from TV footage of the band playing in circa 1980. This dismantlement occurred recently. I think I posted on this forum about having seen U2 in 1980 at some point during the last year or two. I shall never do so again. 🙂
Originally posted by FMF "A false memory is a mental experience that is mistakenly taken to be a veridical representation of an event from one's personal past." http://tinyurl.com/4eaogb5
In recent years, perhaps because of a marked increase in verbal contact and reminiscing with old friends [thanks to the ease of sending and receiving voice notes with my smart phone], I have been ab ...[text shortened]... ing, were extremely vivid.
Has anyone else had the opportunity to dismantle 'false memories'?
Other than minor things such as not remembering accurately where I left my keys or a tool I can't say I have "false" memories of anything I've ever seen or did, whether they be of people, places I've been or events I've witnessed.
That's not to say that my perception of those things was entirely accurate either. I know I've had ideas about the nature of things that weren't exactly true, but even then I was cognizant enough to understand that I wasn't necessarily certain about the validity of an idea or concept as it was related to my perceptions of any particular event or experience.
As far as I can tell I've always been acutely aware of the exact nature of my surroundings, that my senses, especially my visual memories, are intact and without illusion.
My friend and I walked the Pennine Way in 1980 after we'd done our O levels. It was a seventeen day trek averaging about 15 miles a day. It started near Sheffield and ended in a village called Kirk Yetholm just over the Scottish border, more or less following the watershed along the backbone of England the whole way. We met some interesting people along the way including, on the last night in the youth hostel in Byrness, the day before the no-other-option 30 mile slog over the Cheviot Hills, a man who had been 'fast walking' the route alone at a rate of 30-40 miles a day with some logistical support from his wife (whom we never met) in a car. We had a long conversation with him that night and both agreed he made a strong impression.
About ten years ago, I re-established contact with the friend I'd made the long distance hike with and we reminisced. Then we came to a 'memory' where our two versions differed markedly: he thought we'd walked that last day as a party of three together over the Cheviots and into Scotland; I remembered us walking together ~ as we had done for nearly three weeks ~ just the two of us. My friend was adamant - his memories were vivid - but I simply did not remember there being a third person there with us throughout that last day's walk. Indeed my memory of us being alone was vivid. My friend said he had photos to prove it but he couldn't find them.
A few years ago, when his parents moved house, a long lost box of photos came to light. In it were my friend's collection from walking the Pennine Way. Aside from one picture of this other guy in the common room in Byrness youth hostel, there were no photos to suggest we'd walked with him. In fact there were only a few photos we'd taken of each other and none of us together.
My friend finally dismantled his long-standing false memory and remembered that the fast-walker travelling-light fell-runner-shoe'd guy had departed from Byrness ahead of us and then left the two of us, with our heavy packs and boots, far far behind - and he had already reached Kirk Yetholm and jumped in his wife's car and sped off to Jedburgh hours before we arrived in Kirk Yetholm at dusk that day.
The long conversation in the youth hostel the night before had made such an impression on my friend that his imperfect memory had convinced him, for many years, that the conversation had happened during the course of a 30 mile walk and not merely over a couple of cups of cocoa the previous night.
Originally posted by FMF My friend and I walked the Pennine Way in 1980 after we'd done our O levels. It was a seventeen day trek averaging about 15 miles a day. It started near Sheffield and ended in a village called Kirk Yetholm just over the Scottish border, more or less following the watershed along the backbone of England the whole way. We met some interesting people along the way ...[text shortened]... g the course of a 30 mile walk and not merely over a couple of cups of cocoa the previous night.
Ya but, how do we know this isn't a false memory? 😉
Originally posted by Metacomedian No, and I already told two psychiatrics. It doesn't matter what everybody is saying, I was not there and I did not do it.
Ha. Yes. I know what you mean. I've always thought that "what everybody is saying" is an overrated thing. In fact, ignoring "what anybody is saying" can be a pretty good self-watchword for General Forum activity.
Originally posted by rookie54 once,
(thank cthulhu it was only once)
my mom asked me if i wanted any of the olde junk and papers she had saved from my youth...
i was intrigued she would save nonsense like that, but,
sentimental mothers, eh???
i found out that i had kept a journal when i was about 13-14 years of age...
(not just a single memory, months of stuff, sometimes many ...[text shortened]... i carried out the whole box of junk my sentimental mother had saved and burned it in the pit...
That younger you was the modern day Emily Dickinson.
That's so odd. First you have false memories of events, then you have no memory of events. What's next, will you now question your own existence? I guess some people have difficulty keeping track of reality, but again that explains a lot about why the truth escapes so many.