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One conversation with Elizabeth Loftus may shake your confidence in everything you think you remember. Loftus is a cognitive psychologist and expert on the malleability of human memory. She can, quite literally, change your mind.
Her work is reminiscent of films like "Memento" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," where what you believe happened is probably far from the truth -- whether you're the eyewitness to a crime or just trying to move past a bad relationship.
"She's most known for her important work on memory distortion and false memories," says Daniel Schacter, a psychology professor at Harvard University who first met Loftus in 1979 and describes her as energetic, smart and passionate. "It's made people in the legal system aware the memory does not work like a tape recorder."
In fact, Loftus' research shows your memory works more like a Wikipedia page -- a transcription of history created by multiple people's perceptions and assumptions that's constantly changing.
Loftus recruited 24 students and their close family members for her 1995 study "The Formation of False Memories." She asked each family member to provide her with three real childhood memories for their student, and then sent these memories in a packet, along with one false memory, to the study participants. The false memories were about getting lost on a shopping trip and included real details, such as the name of a store where they often shopped and siblings they were likely with.
The students were told all four memories were real and had been supplied by their family member. After receiving the packet, the students identified whether they remembered each event and how confident they were that it had happened to them. In follow-up interviews the researchers asked them to recall details from the events they remembered.
Seven of the 24 students "remembered" the false event in their packets. Several recalled and added their own details to the memory.
They just remember something differently. Also, I think as kids we can't tell some dreams from reality. That is what I chalk up one false memory of mine to(a Jeep flipped and was on fire... never happened but I always thought it did until I asked a few years ago).
originally posted by: Identities
Sorry but it is not existent in my language.
I have no idea what's going on I flipped through 3000 posts and I am clueless.
So far I have people remembering different spelling (to me it looks all the same).
I get the people saying its a false memory or they gave valid reasons of how this could have occurred.
But I don't get the people trying to prove the effect.
I really can't work through it on my own. What is it meant to prove ?
Looking at English language I can see how it changed but obviously people think there is more to it.
Much appreciated if anyone can explain it to me. I think I get most of the sceptics