“Sometimes I think the things I remember
are more real than the things I see. ”
- Arthur Golden
How Accurate Is Memory?
Not very ... as attorneys know.
Eye Witness accounts vary enormously right after the fact.
Weeks later it is worse.
30% of witnesses are wrong about what they truly believe happened as proven by video records.
Our memories can change even if we are unaware ...
which has led many juries to judge a witness a liar if his testimony changes in some detail.
Recent research reveals that our memories are constantly being re-written by our minds.
This bit of data emerges from one of the most exciting and controversial recent findings in neuroscience:
that we alter our memories just by remembering them.
Remember your childhood fondly?
The very colors you remember your room could easily be proven to be different than the truth ...
as some comparisons with memory and old photographs attest.
What Does Your Earliest Memory Say About You?
Where you are at the moment emotionally may shift your earliest memory accordingly.
The extent to which an experience is understood in a meaningful way
affects the likelihood that it will be incorporated into our recorded memories.
I recall a vivid memory from preschool when I was 3 or 4:
A man in a business suit came to talk to the class.
As he spoke, he slowly changed clothing,
adding piece by piece of his Native American garb until he stood before us as a chief in full Onondaga dress.
He made the point of the lesson clear, reminding us that he was the same man dressed in either outfit.
As an adult, I believe that this striking childhood memory
birthed my belief we should strive to keep from judging by appearance.
What Is Your Earliest Memory?
What Do You Think It Says of You?