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The Adaptive Nature of Memory and Its Illusions

Howe, M. L. (2011). The Adaptive Nature of Memory and Its Illusions. Current Directions In Psychological Science, 20(5), pp. 312-315. doi: 10.1177/0963721411416571

Abstract

In this article I discuss how false memories do not always have to be associated with negative outcomes. Indeed, under some circumstances, memory illusions, like other illusions more generally, can have positive consequences. These consequences are discussed in the context of the adaptive function of memory, including how false memories can have fitness-relevant benefits on subsequent behavior and problem solving. It is also hoped that this article changes how illusions are conceptualized, especially those arising from memory. Rather than being a “demon” that vexes our theories of memory, illusions can be thought of as sometimes having positive consequences much in the same way as many of the other outputs of a very powerful, adaptive memory system.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: adaptive memory, memory illusions, false beliefs
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
Related URLs:
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/4202
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