False Memory

From: Fernando, Nisha (npf192@soton.ac.uk)
Date: Mon May 20 1996 - 17:46:58 BST

how can we know if a memory is real?

it could be argued that we can't actually know if a memory is real or
not.it has been shown in experiments by loftus and coan that memories
can be 'created' by merely suggesting to a subject that a certain
experience occured in their past.in one set of experiments subjects
were told of a day,when they were about five years old,on which they
became lost in a shopping centre.subjects were found,over time,to
actually 'remember' more of their so called experience,and in more
detail,hence they were inventing the whole experience.when told
afterwards that it was in fact a false memory subjects found this very
hard to believe.some conclusions drawn from this study tryed to explain
how producing false memories could be possible.firstly,it was suggested
that subjects would remember different occassions on which they became
lost and added the details of the suggested experience to these,hence
coming up with a single memory.also perhaps they remembered details of
shopping centres previously visited,and people seen and produced these
details as details of the suggested experience.
also perhaps memories of hearing about someone else's experiencs of
getting lost were almost 'adopted' as their own memory,after being
prompted with the suggestion.lastly,the mere suggestion of the
experience could have left a memory trace in the brain,which became a
real memory of a real event. these findings would suggest that we could
not know if a memory was real.the only way of knowing would be,if the
actual experience was,for instance,recorded on a video tape.then it
could be proved that the incident actually happened.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Feb 13 2001 - 16:23:42 GMT