Have you ever been absolutely sure of something that happened to you as a child, only to later be told by parents, older relatives etc that it happened to someone else, or couldn’t have happened?
Warwick Uni is doing some really interesting stuff this term on false memories. Apparently Dr Kim Wade, a Psychology professor at the university, has managed to implant the false memory of going on a hot air balloon ride in 50 percent of her test subjects. That’s every other person! Whoa.
I actually volunteered for a different Psychology experiment run by her when I was an undergrad, and she did manage to get me to be certain that as a child, I had choked on a boiled sweet. Apparently 2 out of 3 of her test subjects emerged absolutely convinced that they, too, had experienced this. So surreal and bizarre; I still remember the stomach-turning moment when she said that it hadn’t actually happened to me. What a completely flummoxing feeling. Seems like we hardly know anything at all about memory still, despite all the research.