Creating False Memories Even Easier than Previously Thought

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In MinnPost, Susan Perry discusses a study of false memories that was published in Psychological Science. Researchers found it took only three hours to get ordinary students convinced that they’d had traumatic experiences or committed crimes in their childhood which had never actually occurred.

In the study, recounts Perry, researchers contacted the students’ caregivers and gained intimate details of emotionally powerful events of different kinds which did occur. Then, they employed some of these facts, along with memory recall “assistance” techniques, in conversational strategies that soon had 70%, or 21 of 30 students, convinced of significant false memories.

Innocent people can be easily convinced they committed a crime, study finds (MinnPost, January 21, 2015)

2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s easier than anyone thinks. You can easily create false memories for yourself and it takes an hour to get one. We did this as an experiment during our English classes in school and I still have one false memory from that time which I have to remind myself every time that it’s false.
    That is one of the reasons that I’m very skeptical about psychological therapy, even if it may on the surface appear to be somewhat better than drugs.

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  2. My psychiatrist tried to convince me my entire life was a “credible fictional story.” And the only substitute reality he offered was that of a “lifelong incurable genetic mental illness.”

    I decided I like my real life better, so I left him.

    Perhaps trying to convince a person their entire life is a “false memory” is too big of a task? Talk about “delusions of grandeur.”

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