The aspect of psychology that affected me most was the idea of false memories. The thought that someone would be convinced they did something that never happened is amazing to me. False memories are figments of our imagination that are as vivid and tangible as real memories except the events we see never actually happened. These memories are important to study and understand because they have serious effects on peoples lives and perceptions of the world.
In 1990 George Franklin was accused of murdering a girl in 1969 by his daughter Eileen. she claimed that she had repressed the memory of her father killing the girl for 20 years. Although many people thought that the memories were false it was impossible to tell at the time. Eileen's therapist was convinced they were real and even testified in court that they were indeed valid. Although many remained unconvinced that a memory so traumatic could be suppressed so long and still be as vivid as Eileen described it, George Franklin was convicted of murder. This was a mile stone case, and was the first conviction in history based solely off of memory and no tangible evidence. Since the murder was of an eight year old girl it could be possible that the court and jury simply wanted a scapegoat so that the family and community could finally rest easy. The world will never know.
It is important for researchers in the field of memory focus more on the idea of false memories and come up with better models to detect valid and false memories. This must be done so no innocent person is placed in jail.
A link to an article about the George Franklin case
A link to an APA article about how psychologists' view of false memories is evolving