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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Nov > Nov 9

Re: Key To False Memories Uncovered

From: Richard Hall <dh12.nul>
Date: Thu, 08 Nov 2007 18:35:51 -0500
Archived: Fri, 09 Nov 2007 08:36:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Key To False Memories Uncovered

>From: Cathy Reason <CathyM.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2007 01:39:42 -0000
>Subject: Key To False Memories Uncovered

>Source: Duke University


>Duke University Medical Center neuroscientists say the places a
>memory is processed in the brain may determine how someone can
>be absolutely certain of a past event that never occurred.

>These findings could help physicians better appreciate the
>memory changes that accompany normal aging or even lead to tools
>for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, according to
>Duke neuroscientist Roberto Cabeza, Ph.D.

>Information retrieved from memory is simultaneously processed in
>two specific regions of the brain, each of which focuses on a
>different aspect of an past event. The medial temporal lobe
>(MTL), located at the base of the brain, focuses on specific
>facts about the event. The frontal parietal network (FPN),
>located at the top of the brain, is more likely to process the
>global gist of the event.

>The specific brain area accessed when one tries to remember
>something can ultimately determine whether or not we think the
>memory is true or false, the researchers found.

>"Human memory is not like computer memory -- it isn't completely
>right all the time," said Cabeza, senior author of a paper
>appearing in the Journal of Neuroscience. "There are many
>occasions when people feel strongly about past events, even
>though they might not have occurred."

>Cabeza wanted to understand why someone could have such strong
>feelings of confidence about false memories. In his experiments,
>he scanned the brains of healthy volunteers with functional MRI
>as they took well-established tests of memory and false memory.
>Functional MRI is an imaging technique that shows what areas of
>the brain are used during specific mental tasks.

>During the brain scans, Cabeza found that volunteers who were
>highly confident in memories that were indeed true showed
>increased activity in the fact-oriented MTL region.

>"This would make sense, because the MTL, with its wealth of
>specific details, would make the memory seem more vivid," Cabeza
>said. "For example, thinking about your breakfast this morning,
>you remember what you had, the taste of the food, the people you
>were with. The added richness of these details makes one more
>confident about the memory's truth."

>On the other hand, volunteers who showed high confidence in
>memories that turned out to be false exhibited increased
>activity in the impressionistic FPN. The people drawing from
>this area of the brain recalled the gist or general idea of the
>event, and while they felt confident about their memories, they
>were often mistaken, since they could not recall the details of
>the memory.

>These findings, coupled with the findings of other studies, can
>help explain what happens to the human brain as it ages, Cabeza

>"Specific memories don't last forever, but what ends up lasting
>are not specific details, but more general or global
>impressions," Cabeza said. "Past studies have shown that as
>normal brains age, they tend to lose the ability to recollect
>specifics faster than they lose the ability recall impressions.
>However, patients with Alzheimer's disease tend to lose both
>types of memories equally, which may prove to be a tool for
>early diagnosis."

>Cabeza's colleague for this research was Hongkeun Kim at Daegu
>University in South Korea. The research was supported by the
>National Institutes of Health
>and Daegu University.

Hi Cathy,

Glad to see that you are still on board, and this is a
fascinating study. Especially to me as I am an aging human brain
(I will be 77 in December).

I would simply point out that there are other human factors that
must be considered. For example, if someone asks me to report on
events that happened a long time ago, the first thing I do is
look for documents or records to enhance my memory. I am a
trained and experienced documentarian and always try to get the
facts straight.

Also, I am inclined to say that I seem to recall so and so, but
I am well aware that memories easily can be telescoped over time
and, particularly, gotten in the wrong chronological order. So I
qualify my comments. The point being that the sophistication and
experience of the reporter must be taken into account.

I have seen a lot of evidence (both as a UFO investiagtor and as
a history researcher and author) that often people get the facts
right insofar as they perceive them, but also tend to mix in
false memories or unreliable estimates. Hence it is important to
try to distinguish between honest and conscientious reporters,
and those who by their past record may be less trustworthy or
less sophisticated in their judgments.

To me, one of the potemntial fallacies in this kind of study is
the hidden assumption that all human beings are created equal in
this regard.


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