Woman sitting on the typewriterCryptomnesia refers to a memory bias by which a person recalls a memory but misidentifies it as a new thought. This eerie process causes a forgotten memory to return without being recognized as a memory. The person does not consciously engage in plagiarism but he or she experiences the recollection as if it were a new or his own original idea. In social situations, cryptomnesia often comes up as an annoying idiosyncrasy, but it has far greater relevance for, and may result in serious consequences, in the art world. For instance, an artist or an author may commit plagiarism without even realizing what is happening. According to psychologists, cryptomnesia is a source-monitoring error which happens when we fail to register the source of information. As human brain amasses memories, details are ranked. In this filtering process, the origins of facts often fall secondary to the facts themselves. Cryptomnesia may, in fact, be a byproduct of an otherwise efficient memory system.

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