Monday, July 16, 2018

False Memory

      After listening to the presentation on false memories in our lecture notes, I decided to do a little research. Apparently, we can not believe our own memories. This is what the reader is told from data collected by top scientists and researchers in the field of memory study. A false memory is a psychological phenomena where a person recalls events that did not happen. Initially investigated by a man named Pierre Janet and Sigmund Freud and further researched by Elizabeth Loftus. She has bee a leading researcher in this field since 1974. Her main focus of study is memory recall and false memory. She claims that false memory can have minimal effect on a persons life or can advance into what is called false memory syndrome.This syndrome can have profound effects on a persons mental state ( memory.)

      According to an article in Scientific American, every memory we have is full of errors. Our recollections may feel real when sometimes they never really happened at all! It seems our brains only retain very small bits of  events we have experienced. Every time we recall a memory, it may be changed from the last recollection. This raises the question, what can we believe? According to Annelies Vredeveldt, a memory scientist from the University Of Amsterdam, do not ask any questions of a person until they are finished speaking especially not leading questions such as, Was his hair blond as this may create a false memory (Shaw, J., 2016).  Chris French from the University of London has done decades of research on paranormal memories and believes them to be false memory. He states that memory is not like a video camera. We generally do not recall exact details. We tend to fill in the blanks with what we believed to have happened. We may also have memories of events that never occurred. This can result from unethical therapy. Mr. French also wanted his readers to know that there is no evidence to support memory repression although it is widely accepted (Shaw, J., 2016). Current research indicates that there is no way to determine whether a memory is real or not! Scary! So, the next time you argue with someone about a shared memory remember, neither of you may be right. I won't tell my husband that.

Shaw, Julia. What Experts Want You To Know About False Memory. Scientific American, July, 2016 memory.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Roberta,

    False memories are one of the craziest things that our brain does in my opinion. If we can't trust our own experiences or memories, who can we believe? Knowing your memories are real are especially important when it comes to issues like childhood abuse where maybe an angry parent tells their child at a young age they were abused, and they grow up continuing to believe this lie. Our brain even fills in the gaps and imagines scenarios to make these memories true. Great post!