Behavioral and Brain Sciences

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences (2009), 32:535-536 Cambridge University Press
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Open Peer Commentary

Adaptive misbeliefs and false memories

John Suttona1

a1 Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia.
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McKay & Dennett (M&D) suggest that some positive illusions are adaptive. But there is a bidirectional link between memory and positive illusions: Biased autobiographical memories filter incoming information, and self-enhancing information is preferentially attended and used to update memory. Extending M&D's approach, I ask if certain false memories might be adaptive, defending a broad view of the psychosocial functions of remembering.

The evolution of misbelief Ryan T. McKay and Daniel C. Dennett Institute for Empirical Research in Economics, University of Zurich, Zurich 8006, Switzerland; and Centre for Anthropology and Mind, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6PE, United Kingdom; The Center for Cognitive Studies, Tufts University, Medford, MA 02155-7059