Fandango’s always brain-in-gear provocative question for this week is:
“How do you know which of your memories
are genuine and which have been
altered over time or even made up?”
My memories are valid. You do have to acknowledge that they were “recorded” back at the time they happened. You do not exist in a vacuum. You change, developmentally and physically, over time, so, you could say that the you who is remembering is not the you who recorded the memory. As you alter, do your memories also alter over time? I think not, as they are like a videotape sitting on a shelf. When you pull the tape down and watch it, it’s the same tape.
That said, your emotional association with the memory most likely will alter with time. What might have been a big deal back then, looked at years into the now, you may wonder why you were so upset at the time. The reasons these things change are partly due to the associative nature of memories, and thought in general. Look at the shape of a neuron, which is a nerve cell. It has its little tentacles stretched out to connect with other neurons, and thoughts travel the neural highways with electricity. The roads that are used the most lead to the most memory caches. The memory way back then may have been hooked up to other caches full of emotions associated with other things that made it more intense.
Another big thing to consider is that YOU are the rememberer of a memory from YOUR perspective. How many times have you gotten with someone and started talking about the “old times” and at some point get to a memory where the other person says, “No, that’s not how it happened. Don’t you remember…?” But you don’t remember it that way.
I can’t speak to the mind making up memories. I don’t believe it does, but neuroscience will probably say that the mind “fills in gaps” to make a story “finished” in one’s mind?
Good question, Fandango!