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Childhood 'memories' could be made up

Some of our most cherished and vivid childhood memories may be nothing but figments of imagination, research suggests.

The memory really can play tricks, a team of British psychologists found when they interviewed a group of 1,600 students.

Those taking part in the study were asked to recall memories of events they now knew had not taken place.

A fifth said they experienced "fictional" memories, mostly dating back to when they were four to eight years old.

In some cases, a parent or sibling revealed the truth about a false memory.

On other occasions, the event or incident was so implausible it simply could not have happened -- despite being clearly recalled.

One participant claimed to remember meeting the real Santa Claus, while another recalled seeing a living dinosaur.

Others had memories of flying unaided, and one remembered being a hockey player, even though she never played the game.

The findings are published in the journal Psychological Science.