Is an interesting thing. I was recently reminiscing with my mum about my early youth (a term that proves I am moving rapidly away from being young). I had always thought that a scar I have on my hand was caused by me pulling on the iron cord whilst my mum was out the room, with the outcome of the iron falling and burning my hand.
However it turns out that I had (in my infinite wisdom) decided to actually ‘iron’ my 2 year old hand using the top of the heater as an ironing board. It also turns out that I left it there (stupid) until my mum peeled it off.
Yet for some reason (I have no ‘actual’ memory of this event) I have created a scenario in my head to accompany the event.
“False memories are constructed by combining actual memories with the content of suggestions received from others. During the process, individuals may forget the source of the information. This is a classic example of source confusion, in which the content and the source become dissociated.
Of course, because we can implant false childhood memories in some individuals in no way implies that all memories that arise after suggestion are necessarily false. Put another way, although experimental work on the creation of false memories may raise doubt about the validity of long-buried memories, such as repeated trauma, it in no way disproves them. Without corroboration, there is little that can be done to help even the most experienced evaluator to differentiate true memories from ones that were suggestively planted.”
It’s very possible that I was never told the actual story and informed myself of this information, thus implanting the story in my own mind, and then re-enforcing through future remembering. Either way it was a very foolish thing to do – even for a two year old.