Can I trust my memories?
“We create our memories ourselves. They do not necessarily correspond with what has happened before in the outside world,” explains neuropsychologist and memory researcher Hans Markowitsch. As part of a study at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington, students were surveyed about memories from childhood. Each of the participants was presented with several real and one fictitious event. During the first interview none of the study subjects could recall the fictitious event. But in a second interview 20% recalled details of this fabricated incident, and some even mentioned names of people who were allegedly present. Reason: If something is presented to us vividly, as it was in the study, it blurs the line between fiction and reality: “Then it becomes possible for you to store the occurrence as a genuine recollection without having actually experienced the event,” says legal psychologist Günter Kohnken.