Memories of past lives are memory errors, researchers say

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People who believe they have lived past lives as, say, Indian princesses or battlefield commanders are more likely to make certain types of memory errors, according to a new study.

The propensity to make these mistakes could, in part, explain why people cling to implausible reincarnation claims in the first place.

Researchers recruited people who, after undergoing hypnotic therapy, had come to believe that they had past lives.

People who are likely to make these [source-monitoring] errors might end up convincing themselves of things that aren’t true, said lead researcher Maarten Peters of Maastricht University in The Netherlands.

When people who are prone to making these mistakes undergo hypnosis and are repeatedly asked to talk about a potential idea —- like a past life —- they might, as they grow more familiar with it, eventually convert the idea into a full-blown false memory.

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