Pay no attention to that girl in the tinfoil hat

I had a chuckle this afternoon at those false-memory jokers making up events and actually believing that they'd happened. Ha ha! Fools!

This evening, I went to another class, which deals with human behavior in organizations. We talked about the problems in management and communication that led to the Challenger explosion in 1986. I've known for years that the Challenger exploded in 1986. 1986 is the year I was 6 years old and in first grade. I remember sitting in my first grade classroom and hearing about the Challenger explosion.

Except, to my horror, the video we watched revealed that the Challenger exploded January 28, 1986.

January 28, 1986. As in the second semester of the 1985-86 school year. As in the year I was in kindergarten. Which means that I made up this memory of sitting in my first-grade classroom and hearing about the Challenger disaster.

I'm taking the class with Robin's sister, who was in fifth grade at the time, so I asked her if she remembered what they'd done at our school. She said that we'd been sent home early. The explosion was at 11:30 am, though, which is about the time I would have been going home from kindergarten anyway.

I went to kindergarten in the morning and then in the afternoon, I remember I used to watch cartoons like Rocky & Bullwinkle. A memory of watching Rocky & Bullwinkle popped into my head and I was fine again, until I realized that I was facing the wrong way in my memory - that in fact, I was remembering watching TV in the room that we added onto the house in 1991.

A lot of my trivia knowledge is offered with a grain of salt: "I think it's X, but I might be making it up." I think I might be making things up more often than I thought.

srah - Tuesday, 25 January 2005 - 1:38 AM

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Comments (8)

gravatar Michael Conlen - January 25, 2005 - 7:36 AM -

Two things

1) I love the experiment where researchers get people to remember meeting Bugs Bunny at Disney.

2) One of the problems I have with conservative thought/philosophy is the idea that not only is there a right and a wrong but that it's possible to know it. If we can't even get our own memories straight how can we be sure of anything? This isn't to say that we shouldn't act with a personal sense of right and wrong but that we shouldn't place so much faith in our own ideas that we expect or demand it of others since, quite frankly, we might be wrong.

One thing police know all too well is that a person's memory of something that just happened is flaky at best. Eye witness accounts are just miserable. It takes several to piece together anything close to what happened.

On my recent trip to LA I discovered two things I misremembered from 1995. 1) I thought Mansfield ran East/West. It runs North/South. 2) I thought it was near La Cienaga. It's near La Brea. Mansfield was the street I lived on! Why on earth would anyone act as if they are an expert on something simply because they experienced it before? Somehow people do that all the time.

Interesting thing about Challenger. I remember first hearing about it in lunch, but my memory of that is actually in the third person. I couldn't have possibly been at the location the point of view of the event is from. I remember the basic concepts, that I was in lunch, what the cafeteria looked like, where my class sat, but I don't actually remember much else. The brain just pieces those details together to form a concept of what happened. On the other hand I have memories from 1977 or 1978 when I was 2 that have been independently confirmed by my parents.

High value weirdness all of it!

gravatar alfie - January 25, 2005 - 9:06 AM -

Hmmm. I have no memory of the Challenger explosion because it happened when I was a year and a half old (exactly!). I have no memory of watching Rocky and Bullwinkle on TV, only on videos. I actually don't really remember when our TV was in the other room.

gravatar Cari - January 25, 2005 - 11:23 AM -

I have a memory of the challenger explosion b/c we discussed it in the class you're taking :-p

gravatar Cheryl - January 25, 2005 - 12:38 PM -

Not everyone can be me, Sarah, but I supposed it's something to strive for!

gravatar srah - January 25, 2005 - 2:39 PM -

Maybe you made up all of your memories and that's why we don't remember them!

gravatar Cheryl - January 26, 2005 - 11:09 AM -

Honestly, I don't remember the explosion either. But I DO remember the Punky Brewster episode with the explosion, which would have been at the same time.

gravatar Grins - January 27, 2005 - 2:27 PM -

One of the more interesting topics I remember from Gen Psych was the chapter on memory. How much of what we "remember" is filtered by the last time you had the memory. Really fascinating stuff, well it was to me. I'm boring the rest of you I can see. By the way..the class you mentioned you are taking now sounds like an Industrial/Organizational Psych class. Is it? My professor for that is amazing.

gravatar srah - January 27, 2005 - 2:42 PM -

I'm beginning to wonder if the memory that I have is of watching some kind of one-year anniversary tribute rather than the original explosion.

The one where we watched the Challenger video was Human Behavior, which is in the Management of Organizations division. So yeah, same sort of thing.

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