Researchers Implant False Memories

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In an interesting story I found online, Alan Alda, who plays Hawkeye in M*A*S*H, goes to the University of California, Irvine to do research on memory for an upcoming TV show. Here he took a tour of the facility and had a picnic with Elizabeth Loftus, a UCI psychologist studying memory. At this picnic Alda developed a hate for hard-boiled eggs due to a memory of getting sick from them as a kid- which never actually happened. How did this happen? Loftus was able to implant this memory!

Alan Alda
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Elizabeth Loftus
Elizabeth Loftus.jpg

Read the whole story (very interesting): http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2003/dec/04/science.research1

Having gone through the chapter on memory, I can remember where my memory has failed me... I have a very clear memory of playing outside on a summer day as a child and deciding that it would be fun to climb on to the back of my neighbor's dog and ride him around. This dog was known to take swims in "Icky Pond" on the other side of my house. I remember riding the dog into the pond where I fell off and almost drown.

I did actually almost drown in "Icky Pond" as a child, but my mother swears that there is no way I could have ridden a 35 pound dog like a horse and also swears that the dog was not out at the time. My best guess is that this memory is from a dream or just my imagination's guess at what happened.

Have you ever experienced a false memory like Alan Alda or myself? If so, what happened?

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I remember you telling our discussion group about this false memory, and i found it very interesting! It reminded me of a couple years ago when i was asking my brother about when we were little how he would hit golf balls into our open field in the country, and my dad would piggy back me around and we would go find them all. This he also remembered, but then i swore i remembered a time when my dad and i were fetching the golf balls, and my brother hit a ball and it hit my dad right in the head. My brother swore this never happened, and when we asked our dad he didnt remember it being true either. This was when i realized i created a false memory that never really happened.

I am interested in this concept too, even though I cannot think of an example from myself. My dad once told me my mom cried at the first sight she saw me. He was pretty sure my mom was very sad because I am not a boy. My mom swore she did not cry. She told me she did prefer to have a son but she was also happy to become a baby girl's mom. I think one of them must have a false memory.

This is a very interesting topic. I find it amazing that are brains can create memories of things that did not actually happen. I also wonder how this can become dangerous to people as like you said other people can plant these false memories. I myself can not recall a memory that did not happen. I have had several instances where I thought it was a false memory for some odd reason however when I bring them up with others that were with me they remember it as well.

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This page contains a single entry by hulls014 published on March 4, 2012 7:52 AM.

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