In other words when someone says, ‘I think my memory has become much worse recently’, research suggests that this tells us almost nothing about how their memory is working, but reliably indicates that their mood has been low.
It’s quite amazing to think that we have such poor insight into the functioning of our own minds that we ‘mistake’ low mood for a bad memory, poor concentration or impaired problem solving but it’s a finding that has been widely replicated in healthy people, both young and old, in psychiatric patients, and most recently in patients with epilepsy – to mention but a few of the studies.
Anosognosia is a condition that can occur after serious brain injury where the patient is unaware of their disability.
In these cases, we think that the brain damage has impaired our ability to have insight into our own mental functioning, but these studies suggest that we’re actually not very good at this to start with.
Link to one of the many studies in the area.