locke063: October 2011 Archives

False Memories

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The most interesting topic so far to me has been the idea that we can implant false memories into someone else's head. I wonder if it is actually possible to implant a significant memory. There seems to be a lot of problems with the idea. I watched these video's where Elizabeth Loftus talks about the experiments she has done to try to prove her theory.
While i think these studies are really interesting i feel like they have a lot of problems. In the mall experiment for instance, they had the subject remember something that happened when he was 5. No one can remember that far back very well, its similar to your whole family telling you something that you did when you were a baby. They could be lying we just choose to think they're not. Also getting lost in a big place is a really common thing that happens to almost everyone at least once. Trying to remember that far back his memories probably just got all jumbled and he mixed up the feeling of being lost at one point in his life and being at a mall and with everyone telling him that it happened its not that surprising that he believed it. What i do find impressive is how the subject continually adds details to the story. He really has no idea what he's talking about but his brain fills in the blank spots with what seems logical to happen.

One concept we have been learning about that i find interesting is the how our brain interprets what our eyes sense. When we see things, we aren't seeing the actual image, our eyes pick up light bouncing off objects and convert it to electrical signals. These signals then go to our brain which concocts an image of what it believes we were seeing. Our brain is fooled in this way all the time. An example is when you look at a painting of a landscape. The painter purposefully makes objects smaller to give them the illusion of being farther back than other objects in the painting. This simple technique almost completely tricks your brain giving the painting the illusion of having real depth. Below are some examples of different illusions that confuse your brain's perceptions of what it is seeing. http://historygroupnine.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/paintings-by-gustave-caillebotte-2.jpg

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