A false memory is a recollection of something that never actually happened. However, even though it did not actually happen, it seems as real to you as any other true memory. False memories often occur when remembering an event from the distant past or a stressful situation. This is why eye-witness testimonies are not always reliable. Most of the time these false memories are of the details of a situation, like how old you were or how long your hair was. Sometimes, however, you might dream or imagine a situation and later it becomes a false memory. This can seem overwhelming when you think about it, how can we be sure of anything? It may seem like that movie Inception is at work.
Good news is, false memories can be prevented. One way is to keep a diary. I know you males out there are thinking, no way! That’s way too girly, right? Well, do yourselves a favor and just call it a journal or daily log or something more “masculine” to boost your self-esteem because this could actually help you. Below I will post a link from a man who has been keeping a daily diary account everyday for over 50 years! This man acknowledges that most of his false memories were confined to the small details of a situation. For example, he remembered his date to a concert incorrectly. However, if you keep a diary, like he did, you will be able to go back and check the accuracy of your memories, therefore correcting those pesky false memories. Note, it is extremely important, that you must be clear and accurate in your daily descriptions so that later you will have an accurate account of past events.