Like other functions of the human mind, perception and memory are imperfect.
When we tell a story about something that we witnessed, we may intuitively believe that our recollection is accurate, However, several factors bias our memories of events. To study this anomaly, let us look at the three steps of memory creation:
acquisition of memory, storing of memory and retrieval. At every stage of memory formation, distortion can occur. At the first stage, acquisition of memory, events are perceived and bits of information are prepared for storage in the brain. However, it is impossible for us to remember every single thing we observe.Through processes that are both conscious and unconscious, people determine which details they will focus on.
In its second stage, storage, memories can become further distorted. Over time, our memories degrade, as we forget portions of events. To compensate, we may even creatively fill in the gap created by the recession of long-term memory. Additionally, an individual's memory can be altered during the storage stage by intervening occurrences, which can be subconsciously combined with previously stored memories. Last but not least, during recall, emotion also seems to play a part in memory distortion. In sum, our memories may not be the indisputable source of information that we would like them to be.
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