Ever since I was young, I’ve been interested in the human mind, so naturally, psychology became my focus.
The reconstruction of memories is a topic that has grabbed my attention because of its frequent impact on people. In life, people experience many different events both good and bad. When people want to experience them again they simply recall that memory in their head. People don’t realize that their memories aren’t exactly the same the last time they recalled that memory the majority of the time. Later events and experiences, as well as discussion about the event can cause the reconstruction of the memory to differ from the actuality of the event.
Surprisingly, some memory changing factors are later events Later experiences can change your memory in manys ways. Over time when you can’t remember something, your mind will fill in the missing puzzle pieces to the memory, constructing a new version. Current events or new experiences can slightly change memory. This is common for everyone, especially if they have to recall this memory from a long time ago. For example, accident victims that have to retell their story will remember their fear and trauma much more easily, but might forget smaller details about the event. When my car caught on fire, I only remember certain parts, such as the explosion, the heat, and smoke. I don’t remember where I had to suddenly pull over or how long I stood on the side of the highway for. Over time, memories get harder and harder to remember, even simple memories, like what you ate last week.
This can make you stop and question. You won’t automatically remember, “Ah yes, I had spaghetti last Tuesday.” Older memories are also a reach for the human mind, like remembering the first day of elementary school or your first teacher. Your brain will construct memories for you, filling in the gaps. People won’t notice these gaps being filled because when they’re trying to remember, their brain gives the best idea for this memory.
The brain will give solutions that aren’t true, but seem to make sense for that event. For example, a person might remember that on their first day of school they had taken the bus and made friends with familiar faces they know from other early memories. Their brain won’t give unrealistic memories, only something natural, so they won’t notice that change from the original memory. Even if a person can’t seem to remember an event at all, if it’s a shared memory with someone else, their mind will construct that memory from what the other person has described, making a completely new memory. The human mind makes people believe this memory is real so there are no gaps, but this is just a trick of the mind.
Trying to recall a memory when it seems forgotten to can be done when it is supported by some type of evidence, such as a photo. If it can’t be proven there is no way to tell for sure which parts of your memory are accurate. However, it can be assumed that the majority of the more immediate recollections are mostly accurate. Even discussion about the event can cause the mind to change parts of the memories that comes to mind. Words as we all know are powerful. They can be used to in many different ways. Words and memory are extremely connected.
Depending on the words and connotation, memory can change slightly when being questioned about it or when describing it. Words won’t change the outcome, or the main point of the memory, but the smaller details can change easily, in order to match the emotions and connotation of the descriptions. This happens because the mind knows the meaning of the words and how to use them. If a person remembers getting their first comic book at age ten, the person would be excited but, while describing this memory, instead of remembering they sat on the couch to read, they might remember running inside the house and jumping on the couch ready to read the comic. Because of the strong emotions attached to the memory, small details about the event changed in the recall of the memory, matching this excited state.
Being questioned about memories can also change certain aspects of the memory. The wording of the question can construct a new version of said memory, changing small details, just like heightened emotional attachments. Being questioned makes it harder to get one correct version of the memory.
. It is normal for memories to be easily influenced by words. This is seen a lot when people are being interrogated for a crime, or when eyewitnesses speak on what they’ve seen. Police and lawyers can use words to their advantage by finding contradictions in what a person is saying, or influencing them to reconstruct a memory’s details to prove their case.
These are some of the ways that the human mind can reconstruct memories. It is complicated for people to notice when their memories are different from the actual event because their own minds are tying up loose ends to make sense of things, or are being influenced by outside sources. The reconstruction of memories also show how malleable memories are, since mere words can easily change or make new versions of the memory.
Since the mind is so easily influenced, it makes sense that new experiences can affect memories. The human mind is not as concrete as usually believed. Age and illness are not the only way the mind can lose past experiences. People lose details of their lives all the time, so it is important to keep this in mind when going about daily life