A Memory Trick That Can Blow Your Mind

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If anyone ever told you that your memory couldn’t be trusted, you better believe it. Usually, though, they mean YOUR memory, and not theirs! No one wants to believe that what he or she has stored in his or her memory is flawed information, but it is not uncommon.

Scientist has actually found that your memory is basically full of pathological lies. It’s not just a matter of mistaken identity, it’s full blown, bold-faced and you won’t even want to admit you made a mistake, no matter how much proof you are presented with. And, the more you hear the same lies or gossip the more you will tend to believe it is real. You can learn to trust your memory

According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, almost 20% of people polled maintain their belief, especially after hearing the assertions over and over again. They call it the “Illusion of Truth” effect. The illusion-of-truth effect states that a person is more likely to believe a familiar statement than an unfamiliar one.

Check out this from the National Geographic Show Brain Games. It is a video of things that people actually thought were true but were not!:

In a 1977 experiment participants were asked to read 60 plausible statements every two weeks and to rate them based on their validity. A few of those statements (some of them true, others false) were presented more than once in different sessions. Results showed that participants were more likely to rate as true statements they had previously heard (even if they didn’t consciously remember having heard them), regardless of the actual validity of the statement.

We judge things to be true based on how often we hear them. We like familiarity, and repeating a lie often enough makes it familiar to us, the repetition making it fall right in with all of the things our memory tells us are true about the world. Politicians and advertisers are aware of this. Humans being social animals, have a primal part of us that still says, “If other members of the tribe who I feel close to believe this, there must be something to it.”

The illusion-of-truth effect is a direct result of implicit memory. Implicit memory is where previous experiences aid in the performance of a task without conscious awareness of these previous experiences. Some participants in the Pew study rated previously heard sentences as true even when they had been told the information was false. The illusion-of-truth effect shows in some ways shows the potential dangers of implicit memory as it can lead to unconscious decisions based on perceived truths.

Although none of us would like to think of themselves as open to advertisements, propaganda, or lies it is all part of human nature – when we hear a statement enough, we’ll start to believe it. It’s part of our brain’s mechanism.

As you can see above, showing proof that we are wrong doesn’t change our mind. Research shows that once we’ve taken hold of inaccurate information, exposure to the facts won’t change our minds, and actually makes if more likely we will continue to cling to the idea. It’s basically a matter of ego, because no one wants to look foolish, but this is the reason people continue to pass along known hoaxes in emails.

And, if you think this craziness is something OTHER people do, and you would never pass on information that is false after having been shown that it is — think again. We all can be victims to what they call “Bias Blind Spot.” The bias you have, for whatever reason, cripples your ability to identify your own biases.

This is Ron White, two-time USA Memory Champion , memory training expert, and memory keynote speaker.

Memory Training


Cracked.com:   5 Mind Blowing Ways Your Memory Plays Tricks On You: http://www.cracked.com/article_18704_5-mind-blowing-ways-your-memory-plays-tricks-you.html#ixzz1aEXpmLY7

Wikipedia — Illusion of Truth Effect: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Implicit_memory#Illusion-of-truth_effect

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