Remembering Can Change Your Memory

Did you know that our memories aren’t solid?

By that I mean they don’t stay the same over time, we think they do but every time we remember them they change. How strange is that?

I’ve never thought about it before I’ve just always assumed that when a memory is made it stays that way, pristine and untarnished for as long as I remember it.

But an article in Wired discusses a pill that can make you forget a memory (risky stuff) and the science behind it and through the article  it is revealed that when we recall a memory the present moment can restructure it depending in our feelings and knowledge.

Weird right?

 I’m not going to pretend I understand it because hey I’m the furthest thing from a neuroscientist possible, but my memory of this moment, me writing this blog won’t stay the same. At the moment I feel a little stressed (from uni work), a little nauseous (from too much chocolate) and perhaps a little confused (from the article). Yet if I were to remember this at a later date it could be completely reworked but maybe because I won’t have any outstanding work looming and hopefully I wouldn’t have overindulged I would look back and think more fondly of now (not that now is a particularly bad moment I just don’t like feeling sick).   

So if the act of remembering changes your memory does that mean the more you remember something the more it changes? I have no idea, but if that is the case then my very earliest memory (of me walking past local shops near the main road with reins attached, I think I was about three) is not my earliest memory at all, it’s an echo of it surrounded by false feelings and a huge dollop of useless hindsight.

But then I don’t think about it that much so perhaps it is relatively clean. So let’s move onto something I have thought about a lot. The premiere for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part two, it was one of the best days of my life, perhaps the best, and even though it hasn’t even been a year since it happened I’ve noticed a change.

My trousers were completely soaked, my legs were killing me and by the end of the day I had been pushed and shoved and almost knocked over into a huge crowd yet when I look back the discomfort is gone, the pain is forgotten and I bask in a glow of satisfaction for having been so close to my hero. In hindsight there was nothing wrong with that day, every time I remember it the negatives recede further into the depths of my mind.

The same can be applied to seeing Florence and the Machine this past Tuesday. It might have been only a few days since I saw her but the fact that I felt ill and that everything ached and it was way too hot is fading away too, all I’m left with is a haze of awesome music and a fantastic atmosphere.

Anyway it’s something to think about. The article is actually more about the pill that can make you forget (scientists are trying to find a way of curing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but some have expressed a fear of what could happen if it fell into the wrong hands) but it is a very interesting read, if you want to check it out just go over to the Wired website , it’s quite a long article.

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5 responses to “Remembering Can Change Your Memory

  • summum1967

    Odd indeed – and BTW I only put you on reins about 2 or 3 times as you hated them and used to lean forward so you were suspended in mid air and that was when you were about 18 months to 2 years old

  • beckyday6

    I actually did know about this because I’m taking Psychology, it’s really a strange thing to get your heard around when you realise that a lot of the ways you remember things are false, that they can change. Yet it’s something like you, I’ve definitely noticed. I find it happens the most when I have some sort of visual aid. For instance if I have a photo of a day out with friends with us smiling, that’s how I’ll remember it, a happy photo, rather than all the negatives e.g. how two of my friends were actually at each others throats at the time haha.
    Thanks for the info about the pill though! I didn’t know anything about that 🙂 I don’t think I like the idea of it though…..erasing memories completely….to much Hunger Game-like meddling for my taste 😛

    • Summer Grant

      Ah awesome! My friend is doing psychology at uni, I keep telling her she needs to become a therapist so I can have sessions for free 😛 It’s so strange but then I’ve never really thought about it so it’s an thing to be surprised by! Haha.
      Yeah, I think photos are the best example like with the horrible school photos you had to have taken, I always think of them as horrible because I didn’t enjoy my time at school….and I can’t even remember what happened on the day it was taken!
      Totally, hopefully no one by the name of Snow and Coin get their hands on it! I think it’s good that they’re trying to free people from the trauma but it does seem such a dangerous thing to risk.

      • beckyday6

        Haha cool!
        Yeah I agree, they need to find a way for those poor people with PTSD to find some sort of peace and normality. I can’t even imagine…
        Also, I just realised why I find the idea extra creepy, I read a dystopian book last year called Matched (an alright book, not the best) but in it they were given three different pills, and one of them made them lose their memory like in this article, but they were forced to take it in the book. Bleeugh, science can be scary 🙂

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