10 Mind-Altering Facts About Memory

As researcher Donna Bridge once said, “When someone tells me they are sure they remember exactly the way something happened, I just laugh.” Our memories are in a constant state of flux, whether changed by accident or manipulated on purpose. You may not realize it, but by the time you finish reading this list, your memory will be altered.

10. The Way You Lie Impacts Your Memory

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Your ability to remember your lies may depend on how you lie. Researchers at Louisiana State University studied two types of lies—false descriptions and false denials—to see how we record them in memory and later retrieve them. False descriptions are detailed lies we make up to report an event that didn’t happen. False denials are usually brief lies in which we declare that something isn’t true.

It turns out that false descriptions are much easier to remember. They’re more accessible and last longer because they take more effort to construct. If the listener doesn’t appear to believe your lie, then you have to work even harder to make that lie believable. Most of the study participants could remember their false descriptions after 48 hours.

On the other hand, false denials are quick and relatively effortless. You don’t have to make up details, so your brain doesn’t work as hard. Most of the study participants couldn’t remember their false denials after 48 hours.

The researchers believe that their findings are important for criminal interrogations, but they point out that innocent suspects have a hard time remembering truthful denials, too.

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