I found this YouTube video of a memory experiment by Daniel Schacter, author of The Seven Sins of Memory. It’s of a picnic scene and Alan Alda is told to keep track of how many times the picnic-ers get up—but that’s not even part of what Schacter is looking for. Schacter afterwards shows Alda photographs from the picnic, some happened, and some did not. What the experiment did was attempt to place false memories into Alda’s brain—and it did. Alda “remembered” objects, such as a nail file and water bottle, that never happened. The explanation is that memories are not stored in one area, but in many areas. To recall a memory requires that we take bits and pieces of a scene and put them back together, whether Alda got the memories through the photos or the real picnic scene.
What do you think of this? Do you ever have some memories where you aren’t sure if it actually happened or if you just saw it some place? Do you think it’s possible to collect pieces of memories and piece them back together into something that never happened?