Modern technology gives us many things.

Human memory is 'probably unreliable after a few seconds'

From the episodic honeymoon to the birth of a child, people tend to θυμούνται με κενά ς αναμνήσεις in their deep past. However, researchers now argue that even recent memories can be faulty.

The που προσπαθούν να χαρτογραφήσουν την ικανότητα μνήμης, υποστηρίζουν πως οι άνθρωποι μπορούν να κάνουν λάθη μετά από μόλις λίγα δευτερόλεπτα – φαινόμενο που αποκαλούν «ψευδαισθήσεις βραχυπρόθεσμης μνήμης» ( short-term memory illusions).

"Even in the shortest time, our memory may not be completely reliable," explains Dr. Marte Otten, one of the research leaders of the University of Amsterdam who published in the scientific journal Plos One.

"Especially when we have high expectations of how the world should be, when our memory starts to fade a bit - even after one and a half, two, three seconds - then we start to fill in the gaps based on our expectations," she notes. .

The four experiments

As Otten and her colleagues note in their paper, previous research has shown that when people are presented with a rotated or mirrored letter, they often report seeing it in its correct orientation.

Παρότι αρχικά εικαζόταν από τους επιστήμονες πως οι συμμετέχοντες έβλν λάθος το σχήμα, η Ότεν και η ομάδας της διατηρούσαν αμφιβολίες.

"We thought it was more likely to be a memory effect. That is, even though the participants had seen it correctly, once they memorized it, things started to go wrong," Otten says.

To study this further, the researchers did overall four experiments.

In the first of these, participants were tested to ensure they were able to perform basic visual memory tasks before being presented with a circle of six or eight letters, one or two of which were mirror images.

After a few seconds, participants were presented with a second circle of letters, which they were instructed to ignore – in an attempt to distract them. Then, they were asked to select, from a series of options, a shape that was in a specific position in the first circle, in order to assess their reliability.

The από τους 23 συμμετέχοντες -που συχνά δήλωναν μεγάλη βεβαιότητα για τις απαντήσεις τους- αποκάλυψαν πως το πιο κοινό λάθος ήταν η επιλογή της κατοπτρικής μορφής του γράμματος. Παρόλα αυτά, αυτό ήταν συνηθέστερο όταν το ίδιο το γράμμα-στόχος, ήταν πράγματι κατοπτρισμός. Οι συμμετέχοντες δήλωσαν σε ποσοστό 37% that they had seen a real letter when in fact they had been shown a mirror – and in 11% the reverse.

According to the research team, this distortion indicates that the errors were due to the participants' knowledge of the alphabet and therefore to the expectations them – and not just in the similarities in the appearance of the shapes.

And the number of errors increased as the delay time or the degree of distraction in the experiment, but only in the cases when the requested shape was a mirror and not a real letter.

These scientific findings were confirmed by the results of three more similar experiments, involving a total of 348 participants.

Source: Guardian