Memories are an integral part of our identity - our childhood, our family, summer holidays, weddings and birthdays - but what if we were actually remembering entirely false events?
We’re all guilty of letting photographs fill in the gaps when our recollection gets a little hazy around the edges.
But now a new study has revealed that we don’t just let external forces supplement what we know to be true, but actually let it dictate entirely fictitious events.
The team at the University of Warwick found that as many as 50% of us are completely willing to accept memories being told to us, that never (ever) happened.
In the study, participants were repeatedly ‘reminded’ of things that happened in the past - including taking a hot air balloon ride as a child, playing a prank on a school teacher, and causing chaos at a family wedding.
Despite these situations being made up by the researchers in a laboratory, 30% of people involved in the study appeared to ‘remember’ the event - not only accepting it but going on to elaborate on details and describe the scene.
Then a further 23% of people accepted it to some degree, agreeing that it had happened to them.
Although this has implications on an individual level, it spells bigger problems for society as a whole, as memory is widely taken as law in court rooms and forensic investigations.
Not only that, but if people are subjected to misinformation in the news about certain events, this can lead to widespread false memory.