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Posted by on Feb 9, 2013 in Psychology, Skepticism | 3 comments

False memories of fabricated political events

This UC Irvine study is fascinating – many, many people were nudged into “remembering” political events that never happened, including “memories” of their own reactions at the time. It seems that these people, taken as a group, were also more likely to “remember” a fake event fitting their political positions and preconceptions than one foreign to them. This might stand as a warning to us all of how vulnerable we are whenever we rely on our memories of personal experiences, especially if these have been tainted in some way by later discussions.

We already knew much about how perception and memory play tricks and how ordinary, honest people can seriously misperceive or misremember events that they were involved in, or can be brought by simple suggestions to “remember” things that never happened at all. This particular study, however, is an especially neat and illuminating one. Don’t forget to have a look!