What You Need to Know About False Memory

A comprehensive overview of the subject of false memory, published on the Healthline website.

Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, Ph.D., CRNP. Written by Kimberley Holland.


Overview – Why we have them – False memory syndrome – Who’s at risk – Treatment – Bottom line.

What are false memories?

A false memory is a recollection that seems real in your mind but is fabricated in part or in whole.

An example of a false memory is believing you started the washing machine before you left for work, only to come home and find you didn’t.

Another example of a false memory is believing you were grounded for the first time for not washing dishes when you were 12, but your mom tells you it was because you were disrespectful to her — and it wasn’t the first time.

Most false memories aren’t malicious or even intentionally hurtful. They’re shifts or reconstructions of memory that don’t align with the true events.

However, some false memories can have significant consequences, including in court or legal settings where false memories may convict someone wrongfully.

Read on to learn more about how false memories are formed, what their impact can be on you and others, and how you can correct them.


What can you do about false memories?

The only answer or treatment for false memories is independent evidence that corroborates or disproves your memories.
Yes, false memories may seem quite real and even highly emotional. Your confidence in them makes them feel more tangible, but it doesn’t guarantee authenticity.

Likewise, the presence of false memories doesn’t mean your memory is bad or that you’re developing a type of memory disorder, like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

False memories, for better or worse, are an element of being human and not having an impermeable brain.


To read more please visit: https://www.healthline.com/health/false-memory