Members in the Media
From: Scientific American

How Well Can We Remember Someone’s Life after They Die?

Scientific American:

As a memory scientist, I don’t trust my memories of my own life. So, why should I trust memories of a deceased loved one? My grieving brain responds to this with “because I desperately want to,” but I know this is a childishly flawed argument made in a moment of weakness.

If all memories can be flawed, as I argue at length in my book ‘The Memory Illusion’, then these memories can be too. There is no memory safe house that keeps our most cherished memories from corruption. All memories can be false memories, even memories of those we love most.

In the worst cases, we can even experience something referred to as ‘complicated grief.’ According to memory scientists Donald Robinaugh and Richard McNally in a research paper published in 2013; “Complicated grief is associated with impairment in the ability to retrieve specific autobiographical memories.”

In their research on the subject, Robinaugh and McNally recruited 33 participants who had lost a life partner within the last three years. They found that the 13 participants who met the criteria for complicated grief had trouble accessing specific memories of their lives, and they had difficulty imagining events in the future. This phenomenon was generally referred to as having ‘overgeneral memory’.

Read the whole story: Scientific American

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