Elizabeth Loftus False memories

Bill O Reilly talks with

False memories come from investigators asking leading questions, therapists trying to uncover hidden truths, and yes, distraught parents engaged in acrimonious divorce proceedings.

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Is it possible to create false memories? Many may wonder this, partly because of the accusations of abuse made by Dylan Farrow against Woody Allen. Of course, I cannot speak to the truth of these accusations. What I can do, however, is provide some background on how and why researchers like me give people memories for events that never happened. And in truth, it is a shockingly easy thing to do.

In the real world false memories can result from well-meaning investigators asking leading questions, from therapists trying to uncover hidden truths, and yes, from distraught parents engaged in acrimonious divorce proceedings. But just because false memories are possible in all of these circumstances (and many other, more everyday situations), it doesn’t mean that a particular memory that exists in any of these circumstances is necessarily false.

It’s important to point out that a false memory is different from a lie. Liars know what really happened, but claim something different. People with false memories honestly believe what they’re saying—there is no intent to deceive. They’re just wrong about what actually happened, for predictable reasons. Memory does not passively record our lives and then allow us to look up this information later, even if that’s often how it feels. Instead, remembering is a process of revising and reinterpreting the past. Because of this, we are all susceptible to outside influences that can corrupt our existing memories and even produce entirely false memories.

In the last 20 years or so research psychologists have given people false memories for a variety of events, using several different techniques. The first formal studies, in the 1990s, used information provided by the undergraduate subjects’ families and interviews to give subjects false memories for childhood events like being lost in a shopping mall, being rescued by a lifeguard, and being attacked by a vicious animal. The fact that the information supposedly came from the subjects’ own families, and the context of a formal research study, gave the information credibility, and many of the subjects believed that they had experienced these false events. And this was in spite of the fact that the family members had told the researchers explicitly that these events had not happened.

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Q&A

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What is tertiary memory with example?

Tertiary storage
Tertiary storage is a system where a robotic arm will "mount"
(connect) or "dismount" off-line mass storage media (see the
previous item) according to the computer operating system's
demands. Tertiary storage is used in the realms of enterprise
storage and scientific computing on large computer systems and
business computer networks, and is something a typical personal
computer user never sees firsthand.
Database storage is a system where information in computers is
stored in large databases, data banks, data warehouses, or data
vaults. It involves packing and storing …

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What are some good examples of false promises in the workplace?

I've worked at a couple companies that made big claims about their "open door communication policy" during the interview, only to find out very quickly that the door was almost always shut, and when it wasn't, I felt intimidated to go in.
When I go for an interview, I can't include something on my resume that I have never done/used before. Why can companies lie about the reality of the office. Mission statements are great ... if you actually practice what you preach.

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What are examples of explicit memory?

Memorizing a poem and reciting it from beginning, middle, and end.

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