False Memories

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This weekend my roommate was watching a lifetime movie called "Committed." I got sucked in to watching the movie, which is the story of a woman psychologist who is freshly a widow. She decides to take a position offered to her at a psychiatric facility for the criminally insane, but soon after arriving she realizes that she has actually been tricked into coming and has been committed as a patient. The movie reminded me of something we touched on in lecture and discussion section because the woman in the movies "mentors" who we later find out are patients who have murdered their doctors work to implant false memories. First her "mentors" ask the woman over and over again to try to remember how her husband died. She insists that she remembers nothing. Finally they allude to the possibility that she found him. Yes, now she thinks she remembers finding his body and he was bloody. Then the therapists "reveal" to her that she had found his body after he committed suicide. They tell her what room in her house it happened in as well as what he used to hang himself. Later they tell her that first she had to accept that her husband was dead, but that he actually didn't die from committing suicide, apparently she killed him. She found out he was cheating on her with patients of his and she shot him. In the end we find out this is not true, and that the patients planted this in her head to convince her that she had killed before so that she would be more inclined to kill "again."
Our textbook goes into detail about how recalling events that never happened, such as those recalled by the victim in the movie are surprisingly easy to conjure up. The methods the criminals used to implant false memories in the victim are summarized in the textbook as suggestive memory techniques. These include providing misinformation, the misinformation they provided to the woman in the film was plausible and extremely detailed. By making the victim envision herself killing her husband over and over again it became more lucid. The criminals also created fake newspaper articles. Typically the newspaper is a source of truth, because of this the woman in the movie fell victim to bias, not questioning the newspaper because she never had before. The most annoying thing about the film was that the woman in it was supposed to be a psychologist, a person who is supposed to think scientifically. She didn't question the extraordinary claims her captors were presenting her with, she didn't try to falsify their claims, or question their legitimacy.

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This page contains a single entry by coste087 published on October 23, 2011 11:37 PM.

Helen Keller:An Extraordinary Case of "Language-Learning" was the previous entry in this blog.

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