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How False Memories Start

How False Memories Start

Remember when Jon Lovitz married Morgan Fairchild on Saturday Night Live? “Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket!”

Problem is . . . it never happened. (Lovit’s “Pathological Liar” character, Tommy Flanagan, told as many lies as he could, as often as he could.) But if just for a second there, you thought you did remember Jon and Morgan getting hitched, you’ve witnessed first-hand how false memories start.

In fact, a study done by researchers in the UK and Canada indicates that around 50 percent of folks are susceptible to believing they’ve experienced fictitious events. And that can have real life consequences, for your health, relationships and society at large. As the researchers said: “[A] large portion of people are prone to developing false beliefs…[And] distorted beliefs can influence people’s behaviors, intentions and attitudes.”

So how does a person protect themselves from falling prey to false information and believing what they hear is true when it’s not?

Stay curious. That’s according to a symposium called “Rejection of Science: Fresh Perspectives on the Anti-Enlightenment Movement,” held at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology meeting. Curiosity will keep you open to new info—even if it contradicts your assumptions.

Stay healthy. Sound body, sound mind. Keep your body and brain in top shape by dodging the Five Food Felons (inflammation-promoting, artery-clogging added sugars and syrups, all trans and most sat fats and any grain that isn’t 100 percent whole) and getting 10,000 steps a day or the equivalent. Now that’s the ticket to thinking real.

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