Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

From kissing frogs to demonic possession, people are led to believe they experienced the improbable

17.02.2003


Pioneer in false memory research presents latest findings at AAAS Symposium

During a recent study of memory recall and the use of suggestive interviewing, UC Irvine cognitive psychologist Elizabeth Loftus successfully planted false memories in volunteers of several study groups -- memories that included such unlikely events as kissing frogs, shaking hands with Bugs Bunny at Disneyland, and witnessing a demonic possession.

Her success at planting these memories challenge the argument that suggestive interviewing may reliably prompt real memories instead of planting false ones. A pioneer in false memory research and Distinguished Professor of Social Ecology at UCI, Loftus will present her latest research at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting in Denver at the "Remembering Traumatic Experiences in Childhood: Reliability and Limitations of Memory" symposium beginning at 2:30 p.m. MST Sunday, Feb. 16.



Loftus conducted her study by having volunteers conduct a set of actions that mixed the common place (flipping a coin) with the unusual and even bizarre (crushing a Hershey’s kiss with a dental floss container). Later, her research team asked volunteers to imagine additional actions they performed that day, such as kissing a frog. At a future time, participants were asked to recall their actions on that specific day[j1]. Ayanna Thomas, a doctoral student in Loftus’ research group, found that 15 percent of the study’s volunteers claimed they had actually performed some of the actions they had only imagined.

In another study, Loftus showed how false memories can be planted with a visual. Loftus and her colleagues exposed volunteers to a fake print advertisement describing a visit to Disneyland where they would meet Bugs Bunny. Later, 33 percent of these volunteers claimed they knew or remembered the event happening to them. (Bugs Bunny is a Warner Bros. character and has never appeared at Disneyland.) The false memory rate was boosted when people were given multiple exposures to the fake advertisement. In one study, 36 percent of those given three exposures said they met Bugs Bunny, compared to only 9 percent in a control condition. Loftus’ collaborators on this study included Kathryn Braun-LaTour, Melissa Grinley and Jacquie Pickrell.

These studies continue three decades of research by Loftus proving that memory is highly susceptible to distortion and contamination. Her past work has shown that people can be led to remember rather familiar or common experiences, even when these experiences likely had not occurred. Much of Loftus’s work has focused on false claims of repressed memories of sexual abuse. She also has shown that eyewitness accounts, notably those given in court, often are inaccurate. Loftus has served as an expert witness or consultant on some of the nation’s most high-profile trials, including the McMartin Pre-school molestation case, the "Hillside Strangler" case, the police officers involved in the Rodney King beating and the Bosnian War Trials.

Ranked among the 25 psychologists most frequently cited in introductory psychology textbooks, Loftus is the author of "Eyewitness Testimony," which won a National Media Award, and co-author of the widely cited book, "The Myth of Repressed Memory."

Lori Brandt | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uci.edu/
http://www.today.uci.edu.

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>