Your memory distorts an event every time you recall it
How is it that our husbands experience the same exact event but tell a completely different story at the dinner party? Are they trying to be funny? Inclined to exaggerate? Or do they just remember things differently than us?
The answer could be all three, but scientists now know that it's for sure the last one.
A new study shows that our memory is similar to the telephone game - that childhood game in which someone whispers "Jack is a cutie and he likes Brittany" and by the time it's whispered and retold through a circle of eight 12-year-old girls becomes "Jack is a zombie who bit Annie's knee."
This latest study shows that each time you remember an event, your brain changes in ways that can distort the next attempt at recall. In fact, your recall can get progressively less precise to the point that your memory is untrue! Your recall could even be affected depending on where and when you are (at the time of recall) and what mood you're in.
Of course, there are times when this could come in handy. For example, if the memory is traumatic or embarrassing.
Still, there are ways that you can improve your memory for the good (and important!) things. Even age-related cognitive decline can improve significantly with brain training. Just be sure you're using intensive one-on-one training with a human rather than just grabbing a video game that promises to improve your memory – or you'll soon forget how you parted ways with your money!
Here's the study: