The Effect Of Sleep Deprivation On False Memory Formation Essay

The Effect Of Sleep Deprivation On False Memory Formation Essay

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One of the most interesting phenomenon related to memory is memory distortions. One way in which they occur is through suggestibility, where people begin to remember false experiences if researchers suggested to them that they experienced it (Sternberg and Sternberg, 2012). In real-life situations, this is caused in part by memory being constructive “in that prior experiences affects how we recall things and what we actually recall from memory” (Sternberg and Sternberg, 2012). People’s prior experiences, including their bias and expectations, may influence how they experience false memory formations; the formation of false memories is also affected by several possible factors, one of which may be sleep deprivation (Frenda, Patihis, Loftus, Lewis, & Fenn, 2014). However, there are few studies investigating the effect of sleep deprivation on false memory formation; these studies offer conflicting evidence and are based on the Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) task—a test where participants memorize lists of words associated with a word not on the list and are tested on their memory—instead of more naturalistic stimuli meaning that the effect constructive memory retrieval would have on false memory formation is more diminished (Frenda et al., 2014). The purpose of the study by Frenda et. al was to gain stronger evidence for any relationship between sleep deprivation and false memory formation within real-life situations. The results from this study may have practical applications, especially in eyewitness testimonies (Frenda et al., 2014). Determining whether or not sleep deprivation causes false memory formations could be tantamount to verifying the accuracy of eyewitness testimony of the sleep-deprived.
Two experiments were perf...

... middle of paper ...

...ct the morning-encoding group instead of the evening-encoding group.
This study indicates that sleep deprivation inhibits later consolidation of new material and increases the risk of false memory formation due to suggestibility. This is imperative to witness testimony as witnesses who experienced sleep deprivation the night before likely have an increased risk of memory distortions. Whether or not a witness has gotten enough sleep the night before may be integral to the legal system in weighing the validity of the witness’s testimony. In addition, this study reinforces the necessity for the people interviewing witnesses to use interviewing techniques that reduces inaccuracy caused by memory distortions. One of the most important techniques is to avoid the use of leading questions in order to prevent the effects of suggestibility (Sternberg and Sternberg, 2012).

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