smit6600: October 2011 Archives

Something that I found to be important from discussion was the misinformation effect. The misinformation effect is where someone creates a memory because they are given misleading information about an event. I found it especially interesting and shocking that one can create false memories and truly believe that they happened.
http://faculty.washington.edu/eloftus/Articles/sciam.htm In this article by Elizabeth Loftus, she talks about cases where people are made to believe, by their psychiatrist, that they have multiple personalities and have been involved in satanic cults. The psychiatrist was then sued. There have been multiple cases similar to this and it makes me question, how is one supposed to know what really happened and what didn't? It's frightening to know that someone can create a memory and basically implant it into your head. This was definitely an important discovery in the world of psychology because it needs to be taken into account when looking at cases where eyewitnesses are interviewed as well. (http://www.psychology.iastate.edu/~glwells/wellsandloftus.pdf) Eyewitnesses can be lead to think something else happened during a crime or event while being interviewed because of the way that the questions are worded. Police need to make sure that they word their questions in a way that would not suggest something else has happened, giving them false information.
False memory and the Misinformation Effect are important discoveries in psychology because they really change how criminal cases can be dealt with.

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