Sunday, April 01, 2007

Memories, past lives and recollection

I like to check out Scientific American every week - it has the most interesting and innovative coverage of science and medicine, and the best writing.

Today's list of stories includes one on memories, so I have pulled the first of it and you can read the whole story at Scientific American.

Says SciAm: Do you sometimes have memories of a mysterious past life? Recall odd experiences such as being abducted by aliens? Wonder where these memories come from and if, in fact, you were really once whisked off in a flying saucer by ETs?

Seems the answer may be simpler than you think—or remember. A new study shows that people with memories of past lives are more likely than others to misremember the source of any given piece of information.

Study author Maarten Peters of Maastricht University in the Netherlands tested patients of "reincarnation therapists," who use hypnosis to help their patients remember "past lives," which the clients believe are at the root of their current problems.

"Once familiarity of an event is achieved, this can relatively easily be converted into a belief that the event did take place," Peters says. "A next possible step is that individuals interpret their thoughts and fantasies about the fictitious event as real memories."