How are we "meant" to recall 2001?

This is food for thought regarding how memories work and how they can also be easily planted. While I'll be the first to admit that source, , isn't out to win a Pulitzer, it does make an interesting read if you want an brief intro into how a collective memory can be formed, and hints to why so many people may adamantly recall something totally different to what actually happened on 9/11/2001. (but please don't bash me for any childishness in this article)

The original link is

Its found about mid-page and includes links which reference the noted experiments.

-Believe something that happened (that totally didn't)-

Stop for a moment and recall your fondest childhood memory. Or your worst. In either case, there's a really good chance that it's total bullshit.

Memory is a funny thing. Research has consistently found that our memories from when we were kids are either extremely inaccurate, or didn't happen at all. They are just elaborate constructions of a memory storage system that isn't very good at distinguishing real memories from fake ones.

So what if we told you that there was a way to do this on purpose? To hack your brain into believing (and "seeing" vividly) a completely made-up event that never actually happened?

Holy Shit! How Do I Do It?

The trick is you need somebody else to do it for you (or to you). But it takes very little effort, and no Total Recall-style brain-hacking machines.For instance, in a study in 1995 researchers sat down a group of people and mentioned four incidents from their childhood (gathered from family members) and asked subjects how well they remembered them. What they didn't mention was that one of the stories (a tale of them being lost in a specific shopping mall) was utter bullshit.

It didn't matter. Twenty percent came back with sudden memories of the event that, in reality, never happened. The sheer act of asking them if it did, caused them to manufacture the memory, filling in details on the fly.

Researchers knew they could up that 20 percent figure. In another test, an unsuspecting group of people who had visited Disneyland in the past were placed in a room with a cardboard cutout of Bugs Bunny and/or were shown fake ads for Disneyland featuring Bugs. Afterwards, 40 percent claimed they vividly remembered seeing a guy in a Bugs Bunny costume when they were at Disneyland. They didn't, of course (Bugs isn't a Disney character).

Another study took it a step further, and actually Photoshopped a picture of each subject riding in a hot air balloon. When asked if they recalled this non-event, 50 percent said they did. Other experiments successfully convinced people they had at one time nearly drowned, been hospitalized or been attacked by a wild animal.

How Does It Work?

Your brain kind of plays it fast and loose when it stores memories, and for good reason: Usually the details don't matter. You remember your best friend's phone number but don't remember exactly where and when he told you. You remember that you hate zucchini, but don't remember what day of the week you tried it. Your brain breaks up memories into a stew of general lessons learned and important stuff you'll need later.

The problem is that same process makes it very difficult to distinguish real memories from fake ones since the source of a memory is so often discarded in the stew. A fact you think you read in a newspaper might in reality have been read in a fictional novel, or heard from a friend, or dreamed, or implanted by somebody who's fucking with you.

So not only could somebody do this for you (though it would have to be set up so that you don't know where and when) but it seems like you could run a pretty successful business just implanting happy childhoods for people.

You know, like that time you found out you were adopted, and that your real parents were the Thundercats.

**-links to noted experiments can be found on original posting at