October 2011 Archives

False Memories In Children

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This widely controversial concept is when people recall events that did not occur. This mainly seems to happen to children because they are more likely to confuse fantasy with reality. Most children cling to their false memories even if authority figures tell them they are wrong, which shows us that these memories can be very convincing. This concept can also cause problems when children are repeatedly questioned. If a child is suspected of being abused and officers question this child about this abuse repeatedly, children may give investigators the answers they're seeking, even if these answers are wrong. For this reason, I find this concept of false memories to be important. People can be put in jail for years for a crime they did not commit. George Franklin is a very good example of the dangers of false memories.
George Franklin was wrongly accused of the murder of a young girl. Franklin's daughter, Eileen, testified that she had recovered a 20 year old memory that her father killed her childhood friend. She said that she had "repressed" this memory out of fear; however, Eileen's sister said that Eileen's recovered memory had followed hypnosis. Therefore, Eileen's memory was probably completely false, and was not credible evidence. Franklin was sentenced to jail for life, but was released after six years. Eileen's credibility was also questioned when she accused her father of another murder, and eventually DNA evidence cleared him. After hearing this story, I feel one important question comes to mind. Do we need to consider this concept of false memories more often (especially during trials)?

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