Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Reliability of Eyewitnesses and How False Memories are Implanted

 After discussing and reviewing the topic of hypnosis and memory recall, the reliability of one’s memory interests me because most of the time, we are not always as accurate as we think we are. Although people usually have a high confidence when presented with eyewitness testimony, the accuracy that people have in their own memory does not always lead to reliable results. But the reason why eyewitness testimonies can be problematic is that it relies on memory which is not always perfect. When presented with an external input, the brain first encodes the information so that it is placed into your memory, then that is where the memory is stored until we retrieve the memory for later use. However, crucial information can be lost at each step of encoding and retrieving which can lead to memory being reconstructed and including false information that was not present during the initial encoding.

Because memory is malleable and able to be reconstructed, this leads to people who practice hypnosis to be able to implant false memories onto others. Ways that false memories could be implanted during a hypnosis session could be through ways of confirmatory feedback, cognitive dissonance, and leading or suggestive questions that can lead people to believe that certain events happened when they did not.

These false memories can lead to wrongful convictions in court settings and further question the reliability of eyewitness testimonies. Below is a video of a college professor who does an experiment with his psychology class that tests their memory and confidence on their own eyewitness testimony.



  1. Most people view eyewitnesses as the best proof that something occurred. I never knew about hypnosis being the planting of memories into someone's mind. I wonder how many people were wrongfully convicted due to a hypnosis session.

  2. Hi Dean. I really liked how you talked about the fact that people are so confident that their memory is correct and that they would pick the correct person to convict if they had to, I know I would. It is crazy that our memory can be changed and altered and we have no idea and we continue to be confident in it. I also like how you broke down how the brain takes in memories. I did not know the science behind what is actually happening and how this exactly occurs. I also thought your were was very cool.