The Persistence of Memory

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Ironically, the psychology concept that I will remember in five years is the concept of false memories. Oftentimes in the media, there are news reports on controversial trials in which star witnesses are called upon to testify as to what they remember about the crime. Before taking psychology, I used to believe these witnesses for the most part because their memories were extraordinarily vivid. After witnessing a crime, it seemed like witnesses couldn't forget those memories because of their sensational nature. But as it turns out, those vivid flashbulb memories were like any other memory in that they also could be wrong. Despite the level of detail recalled, memory reports showed that with time, distortions pervaded these recollections in a phenomenon called the phantom flashbulb memory.


Furthermore, the memory research completed by Elizabeth Loftus further proved that memories are unreliable as completely false memories could be planted. In particular, the experiment involving a photoshopped Bugs Bunny at Disneyland was particularly interesting. Despite the fact that Bugs Bunny isn't a Disney character at all, participants in the study "recalled" blatantly false details of their own experiences of meeting Bugs at Disneyland. One participant, in particular, even seemed to recalled squeezing Bugs' tail, demonstrating the incredible nature of implanted memories.

Overall, psychology has taught me to not regard memory as the absolute truth. As the Salvador Dali painting entitled "The Persistence of Memory" shows, with time, memory isn't quite as persistent as we once thought.


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Interesting post, Nice play on the memory aspect. This is something that stuck out for me as well, I also think it is interesting how our memories reside over time. I also never realized that flashbulb memories could also be false, because they are so clear I always assumed they were true. Who knows what we will really remember from psy hopefully better than Loftus's patients.

Great topic! I also found it very interesting to learn about false memories. I had always known that eye witness testimony was not reliable, but never really knew the exact science behind it. I definitely hope this is something I will remember in the future!

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This page contains a single entry by caoxx217 published on April 28, 2012 3:53 PM.

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