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False memories easy to implant

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posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 01:53 AM
How do you create a false memory for someone? Collect some actual memories from a person, record the memories in a list, then insert one false memory in the collection. Wait a week and have the person read the list of memories. Ask the person about the false memory, and they'l' tend to recall it, as if it were true.

This technique worls surprisingly well for early food memories, according to Elizabeth Loftus at the University of California at Irvine and published in the journal 'Social Cognition'. Applying the false memory implantation technique with college students, they inserted the false memory that as a child, eating hard boiled eggs caused them to become sick. One week later, 40 percent of the students, when questioned about some of the memories on the list, confirmed the false memory as true.

In another experiment, the reverse worked as well. Planted into the list of memories was the false memory that as a child the student loved asparagus. Later, when exposed to the choice of asparagus to eat, more students who had the false memory implanted than those who didn't have this treatment chose asparagus.

Would this technique hold up well enough to help people reshape their eating habits?

Further reading -

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