Your memory rewrites the past to update the present

Chicago, Feb 5: The elation you associate with the moment when you saw your beloved for the first time may just be a trick your memory is playing on you.

Puzzled? Our memory plays tricks on us and it is far from accurate if compared with a video camera, reveals a study.

The memory plucks fragments of the present and inserts them into the past, add researchers from Illinois-based Northwestern Medicine.

It rewrites the past with current information, updating your recollections with new experiences.

“When you think back to when you met your current partner, you may recall this feeling of love and euphoria,” said lead author Donna Jo Bridge, a postdoctoral fellow in medical social sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

“But you may actually be projecting your current feelings back to the original encounter with this person.”

This is the first study to show specifically how memory is faulty. It shows the exact point in time when that incorrectly recalled information gets implanted into an existing memory.

To help us survive, Bridge said, our memories adapt to an ever-changing environment and help us deal with what’s important now.

“The memory is not like a video camera. It reframes and edits events to create a story to fit your current world. It’s built to be current,” explained Bridge.

All that editing happens in the hippocampus, the study found.

The hippocampus, in this function, is the memory’s equivalent of a film editor and special effects team.

“The notion of a perfect memory is a myth,” said Joel Voss, assistant professor of neurology at Feinberg.

“The memory is designed to help us make good decisions in the moment and, therefore, memory has to stay up-to-date,” Voss added.