Memory and Reality

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Although it may be disconcerting to contemplate, true and false memories arise in the same way. Memories are attributions that we make about our mental experiences based on their subjective qualities, our prior knowledge and beliefs, our motives and goals, and the social context. This article describes an approach to studying the nature of these mental experiences and the constructive encoding, revival, and evaluative processes involved (the source monitoring framework). Cognitive behavioral studies using both objective (e.g., recognition, source memory) and subjective (e.g., ratings of memory characteristics) measures and neuroimaging findings are helping to clarify the complex relation between memory and reality.

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