Consequences Of False Memory

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An eyewitness claims to have seen a blue van drive away from the crime scene, but was the van really blue? If the eyewitness remembers seeing a blue van, but in reality, it was a white van at the scene, the witness may be experiencing a false memory. False memory is the changing of details of an event or remembering an event that did not happen. False memoires can have long lasting consequences and have been linked to important situations of high risk, like court room proceedings. There are usually three components of false memory. The first according to Bookbinder & Brainerd, is the remembering of events that never occurred, such as believing you were lost in a park as a child (2016). The second is that the false event involves a familiar …show more content…
Memories can integrate past experiences and confuse the encoding of the events, resulting in a false memory, but when the information is distinct this is less likely to happen (Lo, Chong, Ganesan, Leong & Chee, 2016). Even the mere suggestion of an event can become connected to other stories and the initial recognition of the suggestion will slowly deteriorate, leaving behind a false memory (Loftus & Pickrell, 1995). But some false memories may contain shocking and consequential information. There has been a recent surge in the number of traumatic false memories “recovered” through therapy, causing wrongful imprisonment and psychological damage for the victims. There are various ways that false memories can be created or heightened, for example a lack of sleep or injecting false memories between real life events may cause the formation of events that never took place. This review will highlight some causes and influences on false memory formation, as well as their implications in everyday …show more content…
An experiment by Dudai & Edelson used peer influence to test the idea of false memory formation (2016). The participants in the study watched a film in a small group and three days later answered question about the film individually. Seven days after the film, an fMRI was used during memory recall while the patients were given answers that were supposedly supplied by their group members. Two weeks later the fMRI was used again while participants answered questions about the film but the individuals were told that the previous group answers were incorrect. The researcher’s saw a decrease in accuracy from 100% to about 30% when the participants were presented with peer answers that conflicted with their own (Dudai & Edelson, 2016). Of these errors 40% were found to be long lasting, of over seven days. Since there was activation in the hippocampus which is credited with memory formation it was believed to be a shift in memory (Dudai & Edelson,2016). Like the leading question experiment done by Loftus and Palmer in 1974, this experiment shows how suggestion can cause a alteration in memory. The influence of those around us can make us believe we had a different experience or saw something that was not truly there. This can be dangerous when it comes to situations like, mob mentality. If a group of people claim to have experienced an event it appears easy to convenience others that they experienced it as

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