In Neuropunked: 5 ways our brains are messing with our memories, author Victoria Stern describes how the brain alters our memories in ways that makes them unreliable.
“Psychologists at Northwestern University showed that each time you recall an event, your brain alters the memory by integrating new information—perhaps drawing on your current mood, activity or location, among other things.”
Our memories seem so real that we’re compelled to believe them even when they’re full of nonsense. Memories are like cheese in a mousetrap. If you’re not careful when you take the bait, you risk getting “neuropunked”–played for a sucker by your own nervous system.
In We’re all hard-wired for magic, I listed some other mental activities–mistaking correlation for causality, detecting patterns where there are none–that put us at risk of being neuropunked. It happens to all of us all the time. What could we do to stop it?