Real and Unreal Memories

Our memory is both reconstruction and reproduction. We can’t always be sure whether a memory is real by how real it “feels.” Much of perceptual illusion may seem real. But unreal memories also feel like real memories. Most memories therefore have the potential to being incorrect or changed because of our perception.

Agreed, note today’s researchers. Memories are akin to perceptions – perceptions of the past (Koriat Et al., 2000).


Also, because memory is not an-all-or-nothing event, there are several ways to measure them. Three often used memory tasks (memory tests) are 1. recall, 2. recognition and 3. relearning. Recall tests usually require word for word memory. But, if you are filling in a blank to answer a question, you are also using recall. When you answer an essay question by providing facts and ideas, you are again using recall.


In recognition memory, material that has been learned previously is usually recognized correctly. For example, taking a multiple-choice test on facts and ideas from a course. Recognition is usually superior to recall. Is recognition always superior? Yes, if only one choice looks like it could be correct.


It is easier to relearn a forgotten fact. It may seem that learning algebra, history or a foreign language is wasted if you don’t use the information immediately. But, when you need the information, you will be able to learn it again very quickly. 

False Memories

Also, when we attribute the wrong source, (source amnesia), to the wrong event, or an event we have experienced, heard about, read about, or imagined, (called misattribution), source amnesia along with the misinformation effect is at the heart of many false memories.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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