Table of contents:
- You used to be friends with your neighbor Seryoga, but now you quarreled? Is he Sergey Vitalievich for you, and you only greet each other from under your brows when you meet? Rest assured - over time, your brain will erase the good memories of your former friend. And in their place there will be new ones that will blend perfectly with your relationship today. Why it happens?
- How to measure love?
- Should you rely on memory?
Video: How Our Brains Change Memories - Research, Self-development
You used to be friends with your neighbor Seryoga, but now you quarreled? Is he Sergey Vitalievich for you, and you only greet each other from under your brows when you meet? Rest assured - over time, your brain will erase the good memories of your former friend. And in their place there will be new ones that will blend perfectly with your relationship today. Why it happens?
Does the brain change memories?
The latest issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychology, published by the Association for the Psychological Sciences, provides research findings that make us wonder how our feelings about our parents do not change as we get older. Scientists have come to the conclusion that over time, our memories of people disappear, and new ones appear in their place. Moreover, we rely on the current assessment of the person, trying in this way to remember how we felt about him in the past.
New research suggests that this phenomenon primarily applies to the most important people in our life - parents. “Memories of the love we had for our parents as children are some of the most valuable aspects of autobiographical memory,” said project leader Lawrence Patihis, a researcher at Southern Mississippi University. "However, research shows that even the most beautiful memories are changeable - not everything we remember is true."
If you change your mind about the person, the emotional memory of that person will also change. And for the better or for the worse, depending on what you think of this person today
How to measure love?
For the first experiment, the scientist with co-authors Cristobal S. Cruz and Mario E. Herrera recruited more than 300 subjects. Answering questions, participants recalled their childhood and relationship with their mother. Some of them highlighted the positive qualities of their mother, such as showing warmth, generosity, competence, and good leadership. Others stated that mothers lacked similar qualities during the same period.
At the end of the study, survey participants were asked to rate how they currently feel about their mother's qualities, including warmth and generosity. They then completed the Memory of Love for Parents Questionnaire (MLPQ). The questionnaire contained 10 items designed to measure the love that participants felt for their mothers at different ages. They were asked similar questions: "When you were in first grade, how often did you feel love for your mother during the year?", "How strong was your love for your mother during this period?" MLPQ also measured the participants' current feelings of love for their mothers.
The subjects were tested again two weeks later and four weeks after the first session.
Each time the participants' memories of their mother changed depending on the relationship they were in with her now. As soon as a son or daughter quarreled with her mother, it immediately negatively affected the memories of her
The results showed that the written prompts influenced the participants' current feelings and memories of love. In particular, respondents who were asked to write about their mother's positive qualities tended to recall stronger feelings of love in the first, sixth and ninth grades compared to participants who previously wrote about their mother's lack of positive qualities.
Should you rely on memory?
In the second experiment, which involved about 300 other people, these results were repeated. They also confirmed that the participants' current feelings of love for their mothers, as measured at the start of the experiment, were misinterpreted eight weeks after the experimental manipulation. The rapid effects began to fade by the time the researchers conducted eight weeks of follow-up after the experiment.
Memory proved to be an unreliable source even in the appreciation of maternal love
The authors plan to expand the study and aim to interview people of different ages. They want to know if life successes can similarly change our childhood memories of emotions. In addition, the researchers hope to find out if altered memories can affect a person's behavior and relationships with their parents.
“The value of this study lies in the new knowledge that our opinion of a person may deteriorate if we choose to focus on the negative. A side effect of this psychological phenomenon is that the positive aspects of our childhood memories will diminish,”says researcher Lawrence Patihis.