PSYCH: Memory (was Venus)

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Mon, 27 Jan 1997 18:00:43 -0800 (PST)

> Mark Grant wrote:
> > Bigger question: how do you tell if any memory is real or not? The best
> > you can do is to ask someone else who was there, but if it's subjective
> > then you have no proof at all. 'Deja vu', for example, seems to me to be
> > just a memory error.
> There's the legal method and the scientific method. I presume that by
> real you mean that the memory records some experience based in external
> physical reality.....
> Hara Ra <>

There was a fascinating demonstration on the last _Scientific American
Frontiers_ (like the magazine, the show is more concerned with liberal
politics and entertainment than scientific integrity, but an occasional
gem slips though the fog). They read lists of words to the subjects,
then had then read back the list from memory while being PET scanned.
Each word list had a theme, and each one left out some words obviously
belonging to that theme, so naturally some people "remembered" those
words. The PET scans, though, were clearly distinguishable--especially
by activity in the auditory region--between those words actually heard
and those "remembered" falsely. Something like this is bound to show
up in a courtroom before long.