A false memory is a type of memory that someone may remember but it did not happen. There has been evidence to show that under certain circumstances, younger children are not as susceptible to false memories as other children or adults; this concept is known as developmental reversals (McGuire, 2015). In this paper I plan to discuss what false memories are, how they may occur, and also I will discuss two studies surrounding false memories. I hope to educate the reader in learning more about false memories, a study that they have used, and how this can help further research in the future.
Memory is the mental process of retaining and retrieving information such as facts, events, and experiences. Memory is not always accurate (Hunt, 2004). Memory errors are common and natural; they are the result of normal cognitive processes of comprehension and perception, which can cause interference about incoming information. There are two errors of remembering; forgetting an event that occurred and remember an event that never occurred or remembering it in a way different from how it occurred. Memories can be distorted, and one may have no awareness that the memory is distorted. This is false memory (Roediger, 2002).
It has been demonstrated that memory is a constructed process. So, we can add new information to past memories every time that we retrieve it in a new context. Every time that people talk about past events’ memories, they most of the time forgets details or give wrong descriptions about things that happened. Moreover, in some cases, people can also describe things that never happened. Therefore, it is very easy to change others memories. It is amazing to know that our memory can be influenced by others in a positive and in a negative direction.
Have you ever wondered why you find yourself recalling memories that, later you realized, they never actually occurred? If your answer is yes, then you’ve probably personally experienced this. If your answer is no, maybe you have indeed experienced this but, you just didnt realize it or didn’t understand it. Well, in order to understand the whole idea behind “false memories”, one must first understand “memory” in general. When asked about “memory” many will often describe it as “the mental capacity of receiving and recalling facts, events, impressions, or of recalling past experiences.” (Squire, 2009) Some of the common examples that are often described includes the process of studying for an exam or the process of trying to recall where
That might have been a little dark, but it 's true; false memories happen to everyone, but they usually go unnoticed. A false memory is simply a memory of an experience that has been distorted. Your brain fills in the missing pieces of a memory with many possible things: details from a dream, something you saw on television, or even information from a different memory. In Erika Hayasaki’s article How Many of Your Memory Are Fake? he says, "Memory distortions are basic and widespread in humans, and it may be unlikely that anyone is immune." It 's frightening that these memory distortions are so common yet so many people go their whole life unaware of them. Jonah Lehrer’s article, The Forgetting Pill Erases Painful Memories Forever backs up Hayasaki 's point by saying, "since the time of the ancient Greeks, people have imagined memories to be a stable form of information that persists reliably." Proving that people have strong confidence in their memories, he then goes on to say, "Even though every memory feels like an honest representation, that sense of authenticity is the biggest lie of all." Lehrer is saying that the confidence in our
This paper discusses the current state of research into false memories and memory manipulation as well the therapeutic applications of this research. The paper describes studies that demonstrate the susceptibility of memory to change and influence to establish the viability of memory manipulation. Current and proposed applications of memory modification are described through the chronicling of research in the area. The ethical concerns of such research are discussed as well as potential subjects of future research. Utilization of mnemonic elasticity is determined to be a valuable asset that has great potential for present and future interventions.
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,
Steffens, M., & Mecklenbräuker, S. (2007). False memories: Phenomena, theories, and implications. Zeitschrift Für Psychologie/Journal Of Psychology, 215(1), 12-24. doi:10.1027/0044-3409.215.1.12
Roediger III, H. L., Watson, J. M., McDermott, K. B., & Gallo, D. A. (2001). Factors that determine false recall: A multiple regression analysis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 8(3), 385-407.
“Did I turn off the coffee pot before we left?” Memory distrust is another way that false memories can have impact life. Guddjonsson defined memory distrust as “a condition were people develop profound distrust of their own memory recollections, as a result of which they are particularly susceptible to relying on external cues and suggestions” (Gudjonsson, 2014, p. 28). He is inferring that when we are not certain about a memory, we can become vulnerable to outside influence over that memory. Usually memory distrust is triggered by an event that leads to people contemplating whether or not they actually did something. This often leads to acceptance of the false memory. Schacter has identified seven flaws in human memory that lead to mistrust of memories. Those flaws include transience, absent-mindedness, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence. These seven flaws working together or independently, can cause memories to become vulnerable to change (Gudjonsson, 2014). These seven flaws play a vital role in the acceptance of the false
In recent years there has been a hot debate between "repressed" vs. "false" memories. Neurobiological studies show that both suppression and recall and the creation of false memories are possible. This paper evaluates the evidence but forth by both sides of the controversy and concludes that both are feasible and separate phenomenon, which occur at significant rates in our society.
Similar studies were done to a different set of college students and they tended to have the same results. After giving as much detail about each memory, the students were interviewed about what they may have written done about what they had remembered. During the last part of the experiment, each of the students were debriefed and asked to guess which memory they believed was false.
However, this time the slides ended right before a critical event occurred. Participants were then questioned, not only about the content of the missing slide, but also as to its source (slide material or narrations). Bi Zhu, Chuasheng, & Lotfus (2012) provided a ten-minute delay before the source monitoring test, which mirrored the content, and procedure of the initial study. As expected, false memory was identified 1.5 years after the initial exposure of misinformation, with about half of false memory being preserved between the 2 studies (Bi Zhu, Chuasheng, & Lotfus, 2012). This showed that the longevity of false memory is proportional to the rate of true memory (Bi Zhu, Chuasheng, & Lotfus, 2012). In other words, true and false memories do in fact decay at similar rates, and once an individual has a new memory, that memory will persist despite the