A research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has shown that it is possible to intervene on false memories until the process is reversed. The research was developed by Aileen Oeberst, head of the Department of Media Psychology at the University of Hagen, assisted by his team.
Research has shown how easy it is induce the mind to remember something that didn’t happen. So let’s not just talk about the so-called Mandela effect, but how, through the use of simple psychology techniques, it is easy to intervene also for to reverse those false memories. A breakthrough that will be able to understand more deeply how the memory.
According to Oeberst, the principle on which it is possible to intervene on the implanted memory is the same which allows the human mind to generate, in fact, a false memory.
As research into how memory works, it has become very clear to researchers that our memories I’m not “Recordings” of the past that can be faithfully reproduced, but they are rather reconstructions, which the brain processes on the basis of data stored following an experience experienced firsthand.
This happens because the memory is structured in different ways: that a short term allows you to be present in the moment, while the long-term memory it helps to rebuild our identity through the memory of our past experiences.
The more the memory will go back in time, such as childhood memories, and the more this will become dark and complex, tainted by a partial view determined by current circumstances. And that’s why memories are not a trusted parameter, but rather an illusion or a construct generated by our mind.
Oeberst’s research was based on this assumption, implanting false memories in 52 people through suggestive interview techniques, in which respondents tried to recall childhood events, plausible but invented by their respective parents. The same interview was repeated for each subject three times and at the third session most of the participants he believed that these anecdotes were true.
Per locate false memories and take action on them, the researchers then asked the participants to identify if any of their memories could be false, simply thinking critically on such events. Through sensitization techniques able to trace the source of remembrance, the researchers helped respondents to gain awareness that being pushed to remember something can lead to false memories.
Oeberst’s study turned out innovative in suggesting that it is just as easy to reverse those false memories and that you know the truth basic on what actually happened is not an element necessary to restore false memories.
The positive outcome of this research could be applied, in the future, in the field forensic, to prevent false testimony from eyewitnesses.
Before getting caught up in enthusiasm (or a certain restlessness), however, one is necessary certain caution on the generalized application of this study in relation to everyday life. Understanding false memories is still in its infancy and inversion techniques may still take a lot of time before they are actually implemented. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about memory as a tool for the human brain, you can read Memory. From memory to forecast by Daniele Gatti and Tomaso Vecchi, available here.