temporal memory

Christopher T. Lovelace CL1779A at american.edu
Tue Sep 26 07:45:56 EST 1995

That's an interesting story.
I've heard that it's also possible for someone, in adulthood, to make up (or
alter) a story and then retell it so many times that it appears to the
originator as though it really happened (they forget that it is a
fabrication).  It's like that 20-pound Blue I caught off Cape Hatteras
last year. . . :-)
I imagine that the memory of the fabricated story is stored right along with
all of the memories of actual events--and with the memory that the story
is, in fact, a fabrication.  Eventually, after the story is retold many
times, the memory for the story is strengthened and the memory that the
story is a fabrication fades, so that the story begins to be
recalled as an actual event.
Chris Lovelace         cl1779a at american.edu
In article <BILL.95Sep25113351 at subiculum.nsma.arizona.edu>
bill at nsma.arizona.edu (Bill Skaggs) writes:
>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

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list