The Persistence of False Memory

I am very skeptical of the whole recovered/repressed memory thing. You know, when someone, usually someone with a lawyer, suddenly recalls being abused by someone else 30 or 40 years ago. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen, but I don’t think it happens nearly as often as it is claimed to have happened. For one thing, I have yet to hear about someone who had a repressed memory about something good (“wow, I just remembered that I went to Disneyland when I was nine”). It’s sort of like how everyone who believes in reincarnation used to be somebody famous.

Another reason I have my doubts about recovered/repressed memory is because I have a false memory- something that seems exactly like a real memory. Only I know it didn’t happen. Ironically, it is a pleasant memory. Since it’s Christmas-related, here goes.

videogame-710323I have this memory of getting an arcade-like, multi-game video game for Christmas. It was maybe 6 feet tall, light blue on the sides, with a some black parts where the knobs and coin slots were. It had a single joystick with a red ball at the end of it and a few black buttons. This is a drawing of it. I got it for Christmas, and my memory of getting that game is as sharp now as it would have been the week after I got it- except I didn’t.

For one thing, I have no memories of ever actually playing the game, or even what games were on it. I have no later recollection of it in my room or house. I don’t remember getting rid of it. My only memory (and it’s a vivid one) is of getting it Christmas morning, and later that day having it moved (by people or forces unknown) upstairs to my room.

Additionally, this would have been around 1970 or so and I’m pretty sure these sorts of games didn’t exist then, and if they did, they would have cost a lot more than my mom would have spent.

I can’t recall exactly when this memory made its way into my consciousness, but it’s been there at least 10 years.

Very strange indeed.

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