False Memories

Human_84

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#91
I often enjoy the pleasure of picking out the wrong kind of girl to be with. Normally, it ends up being someone young and very immature. The following type of 'false memory' has been common and always worked against me...

Heres 1 example: At a party I didnt feel well, so I asked my girl to just sit with me. She does, and then every time a conversation is brought up concerning the word 'party', its noted that I ALWAYS just sit there; when in reality it only happened once. Theres more examples but thats just one. I swear, the girls I choose have little or no brain at all; normally creating false memories and hold them against me like this. Thoughts?
 
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Anonymous

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#92
False memories or misremembered information stories are cool. I heard about a girl who lived with her mother and could remember vividly being kidnapped by her nanny when she was young. It then turned out that it never happened! Apparently the nanny had made it up and the girl could remember details from overheard conversations between her mother and the nanny about another girl who had been kidnapped by her nanny. The girl had obviously just remembered this story as if it happened to her. Weird, huh?
 

Dib_Membrane

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#93
I saw the black & white version of War of the Worlds. Actually, I saw it for the first time in the 60's on a b&w TV. :D

Perhaps something like that is what these people remember?

Dib
 

Fats_Tuesday

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#94
Dib said:
I saw the black & white version of War of the Worlds. Actually, I saw it for the first time in the 60's on a b&w TV. :D

Perhaps something like that is what these people remember?

Dib
Not quite - they tend to remember an older version in black and white, which featured actual tripods rather than the flying machines of the colour film.

I think it may be caused by seeing by the cover of Geoff Wayne's album, or just memories of actually reading the book seeping in.

BTW - I did have this false memory myself and had it pointed out to me by someone else. Felt freaky at the time.
 
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Anonymous

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#95
Human_84 said:
I often enjoy the pleasure of picking out the wrong kind of girl to be with. Normally, it ends up being someone young and very immature. The following type of 'false memory' has been common and always worked against me...

Heres 1 example: At a party I didnt feel well, so I asked my girl to just sit with me. She does, and then every time a conversation is brought up concerning the word 'party', its noted that I ALWAYS just sit there; when in reality it only happened once. Theres more examples but thats just one. I swear, the girls I choose have little or no brain at all; normally creating false memories and hold them against me like this. Thoughts?
Anyone who would belittle you and nitpick and complain like that needs to be shown the door! Kick 'em to the curb, Human!! :yeay:
 
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Anonymous

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#96
and this is why eyewitnesses are not considered reliable and yet there are many innocent people in the slammer based on eyewitness accounts.
 

Leaferne

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#97
I'm not sure that's a false memory so much as it is stereotyping/generalizing to fit her own ends, i.e. perhaps it makes her feel cooler that she's more into parties than you (even if that's not true) or she's just a little bee-yotch who enjoys putting you down/mocking you. Either way, I agree, kick her to the curb! (and then you can rant about her in the Vile Exes thread ;) )
 
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Anonymous

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Human_84 said:
normally creating false memories and hold them against me like this. Thoughts?
Guess what!

It gets worse the longer you know them. Stay with a woman long enough and she'll 'remember' how you committed every sin know to soap opera writers, and more so held her back from success because you were jealous of her.

And you'll hear this once every 28 days.
 
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#99
Multiple pasts?

Great topic!

One night I'd been browsing/working at my PC for hours then decided to relax a bit and go across the room to sit and read. I'd been engrossed at the PC, smoking endless roll-ups, pretty much chain-smoking without realising. I considered taking my tobacco with me but thought "Bleh. I don't need another one, I'll leave the pack here until I get more tea". Since I specifically decided this it was imprinted in me as a particular point of reference.

The book was also engrossing, and after 15-20 mins I casually reached to the side table to make a cigarette, grabbing my tobacco. Then I got an internal shock feeling as I realised it shouldn't have been there.

When I reviewed what had happened, I (eventually) recalled two simultaneous memories: leaving the tobacco by the PC *and* also taking it across the room - though the taking it across memory had a "fainter" feeling to it than the one which was 'impossible'.

Has anyone else has had such experiences or knows accounts of simultaneous multi-past recall?

Similarly to other replies, I have a friend who recalls a certain girlfriend from his youth. He brought her to his parents' house to meet them more than once and was particularly distraught at their break-up. To this day his parents blatantly deny he had any such girlfriend nor did they meet her, although the events he remembers span many weeks/months.

I find this fascinating as I believe these happenings are more common than we notice, yet the conditions leading to an inconsistency being questioned may be rare (and seemingly trivial). Once noticed we are then sitting on the rationalisation fence, with a strong conditioned drive towards the "it must just have been... [rationale]" (possibly dismissing a truly bizarre happening) on one side and the possibility of attributing a strange explanation to a mundane occurrence on the other.
 

fluffle9

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Human_84 said:
I swear, the girls I choose have little or no brain at all; normally creating false memories and hold them against me like this. Thoughts?
You can go on blaming your choice of girls if you like :) but maybe the party thing is just one example of a pattern of behaviour that's been getting on her nerves and she can't think of any other concrete examples right then. I mean maybe she's a pre-menstrual psycho, but maybe, for example, she doesn't like the way you sulk and one time she thinks you did that was at so-and-so's party. (i speak as one with a boyfriend who could sulk for britain!)

Back on topic though, I think that sometimes when you can't remember something you imagine what it might have been like and sometimes get this imagination confused with a real memory. I'm pretty sure some of my "memories" were created this way. Once there was a band I saw at a festival, really enjoyed, and completely forgot, and when i was reminded of it i had some very vague memories of the event, and it was only later that i realised that my memories must have been my imagination because i remembered it being daylight and it would have been dark by that time.


BouncingAyatollah said:
Has anyone else has had such experiences or knows accounts of simultaneous multi-past recall?
I can imagine how you might easily. I have to take pills every day, and until i got a days of the week pillbox thing i used to think "have I taken my pill today?" and struggle to work out whether my memory of having taken a pill was from today or yesterday. In that case instead of an alternate memory i had a lack of a memory (because you can't remember not having taken a pill!), but for a different example of a repeated action like that, you could have a memory of the option you actually took and a memory of an option you took on a previous occasion.
Does that make sense?
 

mossy_sloth

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Re: Multiple pasts?

BouncingAyatollah said:
Has anyone else has had such experiences or knows accounts of simultaneous multi-past recall?
When I was a kid I was at my friends place playing in their pool. My friend had a kick board (remember them?) which she was lying on and floating. But she wouldn't admit she had it, and was pretending that she was just floating there without it. I remember later thinking that I should have asked her to stand up and put her arms inthe air andprove to me that she didn't have it... But I didn't ask her at the time, presumably, being kids, we lost interest in the debate and started doing somehting else. But NOW I have a specific visual memory of her putting her arms in the air to show me that she didn't have the kick board, but at the same time I remember her not doing that. It's like I created the second memory of which I now have a greater recall than the first.

It's funny that these false memories are of such normal, inconsequential things most of the time...of course the story about the "unremembered girlfriend" doesn't fit into that category....
 
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@fluffle
(...) but for a different example of a repeated action like that, you could have a memory of the option you actually took and a memory of an option you took on a previous occasion.
Does that make sense?
Yes, perfectly. I like the idea that we don't usually assign importance to things we 'not do'. I agree too that repetitive actions don't exactly help with effective present recall :) In the tobacco example you could say I unusually assigned importance to _not_ taking it across the room. I have other frustratingly banal examples such as buying three identical boxed food items, eating all three over time, then finding I have another in the freezer again. At which point... memory utterly fails in offering any explanation. As I examined memories it became quite unsettling as I realised I could apparently not say with any certainty whatsoever what I did or did not do in the last few minutes when called to question.

I've been reading Alan Watts recently so the idea of an ever-present Now being the only 'reality' has been on my mind (another topic). This makes me wonder how arbitrary memories/reality are, since should an 'absolute' memory become a different 'absolute' memory in the very next instant we might have no recollection that there had ever been the former unless a) an inconsistency is spotted or b) more than one strong memory is simultaneously recalled. Memories define, as in the original post, much of our very 'reality'.

Re: the telephone's position in the topic starter we'd usually say "surely the recollection is wrong". We're perhaps not so used to considering the idea that for the poster the phone *was* by the fridge (and possibly always had been until noticed differently) and for the friends the phone *was* next to the sliding door and always had been. I wonder how many pitched arguments may have been blamed on "the other person recalling badly" (from both sides) when there has been some truly bizarre dual reality event occurring. My friend's example of an apparent several-month long mis-recollection is highly curious - and I hope to have more striking examples myself than packets of tobacco :D
 
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@light
But NOW I have a specific visual memory of her putting her arms in the air to show me that she didn't have the kick board, but at the same time I remember her not doing that. It's like I created the second memory of which I now have a greater recall than the first.
Thanks for that! That's my own example, this example and another from my friend (I'll mention in a bit). In all 3 cases we feel that one memory was created after the event and felt "weaker". In my case and my friends we favour the memory which seems at odds with "what reality should do" and in your case you say that you feel your friend didn't actually raise her arms but you now favour the constructed memory.

My friend had written some extensive software for a company and at some point a co-worker (friend) told him there were problems with reports it generated. He put off looking at this... until one day he decided grudgingly "I had better look at this" and set to with a text editor. He found that the code was fixed! He is certain he did not fix the code but, again, after the event THEN had a second memory of fixing it during the past few weeks/months. However, the reality was that the code and the reports were not working the previous day, and blatantly were now. He felt that the "I fixed this in the last few weeks" memory was weak and constructed to fit in with ideas of how reality works (and how code is fixed).

I'd better be careful not to go OT but events that we *don't* consciously assign a specific importance/memory to can lead to similar 'reality changed' events as well, I expect some of these may get interpreted as e.g. poltergeist or ghost activity (and may be, who knows?). A condition I find seems to nurture such events is complete letting go or forgetting of certain aspects (as if reality is freer to change when we forget how it should be/was). I used to have a kitchen hot water tap that just trickled so would leave it to laboriously fill the sink (leading to a couple of hilarious spillage events). I did so one night and again got engrossed on the PC thus utterly forgetting the tap. Later I got a sudden "OH SH*T!" rush and leapt to the kitchen to find the tap off. I was absolutely certain that I had left it running! I even turned the tap back on to see if it had just become so tricklish it had stopped running but was physically on. You could rightly ask "why didn't this happen with said spillage events, then?" and I have no idea why not. Frustratingly the obvious response is you "must have turned it off" but I swear it should have been on. In this case there was no 2nd constructed memory however.
 

Iris

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Reminds me of the time I was at my friend's house. She said that she had broken her good gold chain some time before and was going to get it fixed, and went to get it. On pulling it out of the box there was nothing wrong with it. She was utterly mystified, so whether she had a false memory of it breaking I don't know, as she was positive it was broken.
 

Abendstern

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I think this whole 'false memory' thing must be connected with deja-vu, as i know that many people often experience a similar feeling when deja- vu happens. Personally, i become absolutely convinced that i've dreamt what i've just seen before,rather than remembered it, though.
 
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This topic seems to me to go right to heart of all kinds of Forteana!

I for one think it 'explains' or can be implicated in lots of Fortean events.

Here's another one to add to the mix, and is probably the nearest I'll ever get to 'it happened to me' (not very near)...

My younger brother, in his mid teens, once reminded me about the time we were playing with our toys as kids. We were on our own, and it was very quiet. Suddenly in one of those moments of stillness, we saw an action man peer out from behind a nearby chest of drawers - as if someone were holding it. It apparently moved around and we watched it fascinatedly for a good few minutes as it bobbed around, then withdrew. We never saw what was behind the chest, or whether the doll was really flying... it was just one of those eerie minutes all kids have in their lives.

My brother told me all this, wide-eyed... until I told him that he was remembering a story I'd told him from a book about real-life incidents of the supernatural!

I even got the book out and showed him, including the (eerie) illustration. I'd obviously told him about it when we were younger and he'd just 'absorbed' it like some of the other people on this thread. If I'd never told him, he would have thought it all had happened to him when he was very young!
 
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My sister got married over the weekend, to a man she's been with for many years. I distinctly recall on several occasions many years ago talking with her about her boyfriend's brother, who was gay and lived with his partner near Oxford. They both told me that they got on well with him, and that he was a funny bloke who had quite an exhuberant personality, but that they only saw him rarely.

I mentioned this to my partner just as part of normal conversation at the time, and she recalls me telling her about it.

Leading up to the wedding I happened to ask if my sister's boyfriend's brother was bringing his partner and whether this would upset their mother, whom I was led to believe was particularly right wing, if not an out and out homophobe.

I have been told by all parties that these conversations never took place. I have no reason to think that they were winding me up, as what purpose would it serve? My girlfriend, as I say, recalls me telling her about it at the time.
The man in question has been married with children for about ten years. Its a good job I was informed about this before the wedding as I would have looked a right fool asking him where his boyfriend was, with his wife stood there!

A second example I shall also relate. My partner and I both have a great fondness for ladybird books, stemming from childhood; the particular attraction both then and now are the delightful illustrations - almost mock Dutch Masters. As we started collecting the books, notably the fairy tales, "Well read Tales" series, we discussed the pictures we loved from different stories.

One picture we both recalled was one from the story Rumpelstiltskin, which showed the demonic imp dancing laughing around a fire, at night, from a viewpoint of around 30 yards away and slightly up in the air.
We found the book in a charity shop, where many hide, but the picture we both remembered as a chilling image from our youth was not there. my partner thought that it must be a publishing mistake as after all, we both remebered the same picture. So we found other copies. It was not in any.

How can we both have the same false memory.

I keep thinking that a parallel worlds theory, in which we had both existed, but in which no longer reside, would explain this.

Bring it on.
 

mossy_sloth

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I wondered how long it would be before someone mentioned parallel worlds!

I'm more tempted by the malleability of memory myself, as it is much more easy to document and trace (though obviously not in all cases as many of these posts have shown).

But the mention of parallel universes reminds me of a book I read as a kid called "the Green futures of Tycho" which although a kids book, dealt with false memories and attributed them to parallel universes. Did anyone sles read it as a kid? I think it was by William Sleator.
 
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Sod false memories - Ladybird books are a much more chilling category!

I remember the ones you're talking about, I think. They were in the process of being phased out, so I read them but my (aforementioned) younger brother didn't. They were painted - but they also had a 'photorealistic' style that made them extremely vivid.

Does anyone remember the Three Billy Goats Gruff? The troll in that story was the stuff of nightmares!

Green Knight, do you have any photos of them online? Maybe the picture was so horrifying, they took it out... but here's another explanation.

That troll I mentioned was only 'in frame' for one or two pictures. And even now I'm not sure you saw him 'straight on' more than once. You saw an eye, some shock hair... but I have a clear image of it in my head. The suggestion was more powerful than the image... and more terrifying, too, as all horror directors know.

As someone said about the 'black and white' war of the worlds, when something is suggested strongly , it's not impossible for lots of people to imagine the same thing...

What do you reckon?
 
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Anonymous

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The assumption underlying ( nearly ) everyone's comments is that there is actually a unified consistent reality that we all experience - either wrongly or rightly. But there is no proof for this. Perhaps we all experience everything correctly, its just all slightly DIFFERENT for each of us? Perhaps our memories are better than we credit and its reality that varies.

And why not?

I had an awesome dream were perfect computers realised this after they detected between them with their perfect memories that things weren't quite adding up and they then sought to shield humans from this knowledge ( which involved killing any humans which worked it out ).

Yeah, I get dreams like that a lot.
 
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Ok, how creepy is that several of my coworkers and I were JUST talking about this at lunch today?

I find that I have a tendency to create "false memories" of mundane things I INTENDED to do. For example, this morning I woke up and made a mental note to remember my sack lunch in the fridge. I was trying to remember it all morning as I got ready, since I have a bad track record of running out the door without my lunch and I can't afford to dine out right now. Imagine my dismay when I went to the fridge and found no lunch. The distinct memory I had of my lunch, its contents, and the act of preparing it were all memories of my well planned INTENTIONS of preparing it the night before. I have caught myself doing this time and time again, which leads me to wonder how much of my life I have actually lived and how much I only INTENDED to live…

Oh, and I ended up having a bagel in the office for lunch today ;)
 

mossy_sloth

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standinghere said:
The assumption underlying ( nearly ) everyone's comments is that there is actually a unified consistent reality that we all experience - either wrongly or rightly. But there is no proof for this. Perhaps we all experience everything correctly, its just all slightly DIFFERENT for each of us? Perhaps our memories are better than we credit and its reality that varies.

And why not?
I don't think there is an argument that can totally refute this view otherwise the postmodernist theory wouldn't still be considered credible.. BUT I tend to think that there IS at least a reality that is largely coinsistent: there is too much consensus, in fact this consensus shapes so much of what we do and what we are, to suggest that everyone's PHYSICAL realities differ to a great extent. I'm not saying that experiences are the same for everyone, I'm sure they're not. But if you give someone a map of London and say "meet me at liverpool station" then the reality that allows the map to give accurate information IS a consistent unified reality.

I know there is no proof, but if you start down that philosophical track there is no proof, nor justification, for pretty much anything. I'm not denying your suggestion, for all I know it could be true (but then your suggestion carries with it implications for the validity of the term 'truth").

But it seems to me that memories are far more fallible and easily changed than, say, the location of liverpool station. It may not be proavable that there is a consistent reality, but I think the likelihood of a reality that is, at least in the physical sense, consistent from day to day, is far greater.
 

Gemaki

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I love this thread! I've felt so strange sometimes, like deja-vu, I remember doing this same thing, and also remember having deja-vu over it! And I've also noticed that you can do some VERY strange things while you're talking on the phone! I'm not sure how guys would relate to this, but us women can talk on the phone all day. Well, after a heavy day of phone calls, I was finding things out of place all over the kitchen, going to do something and finding it was done, etc. It's like my brain was on auto-pilot, and picked up on all the things I had wanted to do, but I was not aware of it because of the phone calls. It seems multi-tasking can really have some surprising results.
 
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S'good topic, isn't it?

I know what you mean about doing little things and not remembering them... apparently the brain uses a different part (sorry for the armchair neuropsychology) for doing things 'by rote' rather than learning them. So you can kind of unconsciously 'multitask' if you're familiar with what you're doing.


Hell, let's draw in another favourite of mine while we're throwing it all into the pot... elves, fairies, little people and that sort of thing (one of my pet obsessions).

Several things always strike me as odd about these kinds of stories(and this could go for a lot of 'alien' sightings too) :


1) They always look different. You almost never find two accounts matching up from different times or places. Sure, there are matching 'types', but even these differ greatly.

2) Considering the weirdness, the number of people who are scared at the time always seems less than it should be.

3) People often don't consider their sightings strange until weeks afterwards, even if they've interacted with whatever it was.


All massive generalisations, but all often true I hope you'll agree...

Now, rather than blaming, say, hallucinations (to take an utterly random physical cause), I'd say that memory issues could be the root of some of these sightings.

In other words, you saw nothing at the time, but later for some reason when you think back, there's something odd about the scene. Something churns away in your brain for days, weeks or months... and eventually when you consciously think about it, you 'realise' you've seen what appears to be an autonomous entity.

Obviously, you could apply this to a big chunk of Fortean phenomena, but it seems to fit well for this type of encounter to me.

The question then is obviously: okay, maybe, but why does the brain do this?

Well...

There's a quote from Jung about how our subconcious 'complexes' are very like the old descriptions of fairy folk: vague, mischevious, un-pin-down-able, and yet somehow replete with secret knowledge. I'll try and quote it on here soon.

Isn't it fascinating to think of near-autonomous parts of your own brain, the kind of mischevious, fascinating things you see in dreams, being able to play around in your memories? Disquieting too...
 
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[/quote]

I know there is no proof, but if you start down that philosophical track there is no proof, nor justification, for pretty much anything. I'm not denying your suggestion, for all I know it could be true (but then your suggestion carries with it implications for the validity of the term 'truth").

[/quote]

Yes I agree with all your points - it would seem the realities are generally similar on a day-to-day basis.

What's interesting is how small glitches not generally noticed would explain many fortean phemonena - and perhaps groups of people could temporarily share a reality not accessible to others - UFO experiencers? People with visions of the BVM?

Perhaps there is a population of possible realities and our consciousnesses can sit astride these and 'tune through them'.

If you take something like the Many Worlds theory - where physicists say that there is a separate reality for every possible combination of particles in the universe then we even have science approaching this from another angle.

If it were true then our brains could maybe experience other 'close-by' realities as fleeting glimpses or corruptions in our own. For the brain to communicate in such a way with other versions of itself in other possible universes is directly analagous to the theories for a quantum computer which I've read but never fully understood.

The gist seems to be that a quantum computer does calculations faster than it could using all the components of the universe, therefore it must be communicating with versions of itself in other possible universes. Hmm.

The quantum computer isn't even a purely theoretical device - they are trying to build it and have wonky basic prototypes and it turns up in New Scientist every few months.

Well at least in my realities version of New Scientist it does! ;)
 

mossy_sloth

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tsuchinoko said:
Isn't it fascinating to think of near-autonomous parts of your own brain, the kind of mischevious, fascinating things you see in dreams, being able to play around in your memories? Disquieting too...
There seems to be less about it in the media now, but this reminds me of the 'repressed memory' scandals where so-called professionals were 'implanting' false memories in people's minds. I recall that much of the time these professionals weren't deliberately doing this, it was just a combined effect of suggestive and leading questions and possible a desire to please on behalf of the patient.

Still it made me think, if it is possible that other people can, intentionally or not, 'implant' memories, then it makes sense that we could do the same thing to ourselves, being similarly unaware of it happening.

The idea of near-autonomous parts of the brain is indeed disturbing... I had a strange thing happen recently which makes me quite aware of this sort of thing... I was travelling in Greece with a group of people who didn't particularly get on. As the weeks went on the group tensions worsened and being in a different country seemed to exacerbate insecurities. I was feeling pretty bad, and pretty lonely. Then I started having these disturbing "memories". I would be somewhere I had never been, and I would suddenly get this certainty that I had dreamed about this place before. These certainties started happening with greater frequency, and I was really starting to freak out...however later the group split up, and things were less tense, and I was more rational...and I started thinking...actually I did have dreams that resembled these places in a very vague superficial way...but there really was nothing unusual about this..I came to the conclusion that being in an unfamiliar place, and being in hostile company, my brain was trying to find images of familiarity that would somehow make me feel less alienated from my immediate surroundings. This is my theory anyway. I hope it makes sense...I've never really thought about it in words before!

So...my point was....yes...brain does weird things that I'm not entirely comfortable with!
 

jaloopa

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Gemaki said:
I love this thread! I've felt so strange sometimes, like deja-vu, I remember doing this same thing, and also remember having deja-vu over it!
I get that. I've never met anyone else who does though. I sometimes remember remembering having dejá vu. That freaks me out every time
 

uair01

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I sometimes remember remembering having dejá vu. That freaks me out every time
I read/heard somewhere that deja vu's are caused by some kind of "switch" in your brain having a small glitch.

Normally this switch attaches different labels to input signals coming into your brain:
Label A) This is fresh input coming from the senses
Label B) This is old input coming from memory

Sometimes the switch mixes up the labels and then the brain labels fresh input as "coming from memory". This gives you the deja vu feeling.

If anyone has any references to scientific reports on this, please ...
 
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I'd like to suggest that our memories are rather like lumps of clay. They can remain 'pliable', or get 'hardened'. They can also get commingled. Recently I had some dental work done, and commented to the doc that I hoped he wouldn't use the same sort of temporary cap he used 'last time'. He looked rather put out and explained he had never used the type of cap I mentioned. You can imagine my embarrassment as I had mixed him up with a dentist I'd had years ago !!! (And who was rather sloppy in his workmanship.) But until he pointed out the 'commingling' I was certain it was he who had caused me so much discomfort !!!

Perhaps the image should be one of those play sets where you can attach this piece to that and build a very eclectic construct.
 
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