Oh, How Flawed Our Brains and Memories Are

In Dr. Steven Novella’s course, Your Deceptive Mind, one of the most intriguing topics is how flawed our brains truly are. He is a neuroscience professor at Yale and partakes in a number of influential scientific communities that study the brain.

Our brains are fascinating and amazing mechanisms. For example, there was a study where a test group was exposed to 10,000 different photos of a collection. Afterwards, each individual was asked to identify if various photos that were part of the collection. On average, the group performed well – correcting finding about 68% of the photos from a collection of 10,000. However, they are not as reliable as you may think they are.

Our memories have flaws. One is called confabulation where our brain fabricates details that were not originally part of the memory. Subconsciously, we don’t know that we’re fabricating details so we have no malicious intent in creating these details. We just don’t know that we’re doing so.

Another flaw is a problem with recall. Have you ever had a time where you couldn’t activate a part of your brain to recall certain words, accounts, or memories? And maybe some time later, you suddenly received a stimuli that vividly showed you the memory.

Our brains also skip the conversion phase in a lot of memories meaning we don’t store many memories. The conversion phase is the time where our short-term memory is converted into long-term memory. However, our brains will simply skip this event.

Then there is the phenomena where we mash and meld different memories together – even when they have no discernible connectivity. We’ll take one memory and begin mixing it with another. This, of course, is happening without our knowledge.

Find out more on his blog here: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/your-deceptive-mind/

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