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.