temporal memory

Bill Skaggs bill at nsma.arizona.edu
Mon Sep 25 13:33:51 EST 1995


CL1779A at american.edu (Christopher T. Lovelace) writes:

   > Basically, what I meant was that it is quite possible to have a
   > vivid, detailed memory of something, only to later find that some
   > of the details have become distorted over time (perhaps another
   > friend had a green Mustang).

There is a nice story along these lines in the book "Darkness
Visible", by William Styron.  He describes a very vivid memory he had,
of an incident that occurred while he was a small child.  He was out
for a walk with his nursemaid, in Paris, when a strange man came up
and tried to snatch him and carry him off.  The nursemaid struggled
with the stranger, screaming and grappling, until he lost heart and
ran away.  The memory of this incident endured into adulthood for
Styron, clear and fresh in every detail, the nursemaid screaming, the
stranger cursing.  Decades later, though, when the nursemaid was on
her deathbed, she admitted that she had invented the whole story, in
order to gain attention.  The whole clear, vivid memory was of
something that had never happened!  Apparently, as Styron says, he was
told the story so many times when he was a child that in the end he
incorporated it into his own memory.

	-- Bill




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