Our short-term memory is constantly lying – but it helps us to survive

Scientists have proved that our short-term memory is intentionally deceiving us, creating tricks that allow us to better know what we see in the world. The deception begins when we see something a second time. Our brain is partially distorts the image, so we can retrieve the object, even if it moved in space, or something has changed.

In an example, the process of crossing the road, you look left and see the car, and then turn your head to the right. Then again look to the left and see the same car, albeit in a different position and light. Such recognition seems simple, but in fact the brain needs to perform many operations to understand that it’s the same car. Otherwise, we constantly perceive the situation, like brand new, looking at her a second time. That is, the machine for us every time appeared “from nowhere”.

The fact of fit the information the brain is not new, but the psychologist Christoph Bledowski from Goethe University in Germany and his colleagues have significantly advanced the study of this phenomenon. In the course of the four-part experiment they asked 109 participants to track movements of red and green dots on the monitor, the position and velocity which is constantly changing. The analysis showed that the participants “saw” in the next series of experiment, quite clearly were predetermined by what they saw in the first.

Our short-term memory responds to contextual factors – the direction of movement of the object, its color and spatial position and is making a deliberate “corrections”. Previous studies have shown that a similar trick our brain does with individuals. The idea that memory is deceiving us, should not be surprising – our brain is an expert in creating false memories, for example, he tends to erase painful experiences. In the end, such “false” memories help us navigate the world and survive.

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