Salvador Dali once said: “The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.”
Elizabeth F. Loftus, a well-known professor and researcher in the field of psychology and “the creation and nature of false memories” has shown in her research how memories can be distorted, and how people can be influenced by information after an event has occurred. Her experiments involve exposing people to outside influences of suggestion after witnessing a video and being questioned about their observations, for example.
According to an article on, Dec 19, 2017, by Lindsay Dodgson, “Neuroscientists have looked at brain scans of people having real memories and false memories to see if there’s a difference. In one study from Daegu University in South Korea, 11 people were asked to read lists of words that fall into categories, like “farm animals.” Then they were asked whether specific words appeared on the original lists, while functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) detected changes in blood flow to different areas of the brain.
“When study participants had confidence in their answers and were correct, blood flow increased to the hippocampus — the region of the brain that is important for memory. If they were confident in their answer but were wrong, which happened about 20% of the time, the frontoparietal region lit up — the area associated with a sense of familiarity.”
Now consider how the human brain can influence memory by going over and over an event that is influenced by a high emotional response.
According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, in Evolve Your Brain, “We can make thought more real than anything else.”
The way we think affects the body because every thought creates a biochemical reaction in the brain, which allows for a corresponding feeling in the body. There is a continuous cycle of thinking creating the feeling and then feeling creating thinking.
Each time we “re-live” a highly charged emotional experience, we literally cause the brain to fire in the exact sequences and patterns as the original event. This firing and wiring of the brain to the past only serves to reinforce those circuits and create even more hard-wired circuits. The emotions can become even more heightened thus creating a distortion of the “memory” of actual events.
When there is an extreme emotional charge to an event or experience in our life, and we continue to live it over and over again, recreating the same chemistry in the body-mind, there is the opportunity for distortion of the memory of that event, heightened by the memorized emotions. Because we tend to “re-live” especially traumatic events or uncomfortable or unhappy experiences from our past, those “memories” become distorted by our emotional state.
This unconscious repetition trains the body to remember that emotional state, equal to or better than the conscious mind does.
When the body remembers better than the conscious mind, then the body is the mind. Our feelings become the way we think, and we can’t think greater than how we feel. At this point, the body (feelings) controls the mind (thoughts).
Only 5% of who we are is conscious, and 95% of who we are is subconscious, or even unconscious. So, body feelings is that 95 % of memorized negativity, while mind-thoughts is the 5%.
“Think of your body as the unconscious mind. It is so objective that it doesn’t know the difference between the emotions that are created from experiences in your external world and those you fabricate in your internal world by thought alone. To the body they are the same.” -Joe Dispenza, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself
The question of the accuracy of memory has more recently become of interest in the criminal justice system. According to an article in Wired, “False memories and false confessions: the psychology of imagined crimes” Julia Shaw, a criminal psychologist at the London South Bank University, conducts research to study how false memories arise in the brain and their implications for the criminal justice system. She has found human memories to be susceptible to suggestion, malleable, and “often unintentionally false.”
“False memories are everywhere,” she says. “In everyday situations, we don’t really notice or care that they’re happening. We call them mistakes, or say we misremember things.” In the criminal justice system, however, they can have severe consequences.
Elizabeth Loftus, a cognitive psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, had been studying memory for more than 20 years prior to 1990. In one of Loftus’ research studies, she concluded that “The key is suggestibility. Often, false memories develop because there’s exposure to external suggestive information. Or, people can suggest things to themselves – autosuggestion. People draw inferences about what might have happened. Those solidify and act like false memories.”
Joe Dispenza in Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself gives this advice: “Warning: when feelings become the means of thinking, or if we cannot think greater than how we feel, we can never change. To change is to think greater than how we feel. To change is to act greater than the familiar feelings of the memorized self.”
Thus, in order to move out of living in the past, and being boxed in by “memories” – real or unreal – is to challenge the thoughts and feelings that come with them. Ask yourself: “Is this true?” “Is this just what I’m thinking and believing while I’m experiencing these feelings?” “Who’s talking?”
Rather than continuing to replay old scenarios – move beyond the “old memorized self.”
Knowing that memory is more an illusion than a reality, it is possible.
By Deborah Adler 11-29-2021
Evolve Your Brain, Joe Dispenza, DC; ©2007, Health Communications, Inc.
Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, Joe Dispenza, DC; ©2012, Hay House, Inc.…/false-memories… False Memories: How false memories are created and can affect our ability to recall events.…/false-memory-syndrome-false…, Emma Bryce, 7-22-2017 False memories and false confessions: the psychology of imagined crimes