EP17 Speech 18 - The Fiction of Memory - Elizabeth Loftus, PhD
For several decades, I have been manufacturing memories in unsuspecting minds. People can be led to believe that they did things that would have been rather implausible. They can be led to falsely believe that they had experiences that would have been emotional or traumatic had they actually happened. False memories, like true ones, also have consequences for people, affecting later thoughts, intentions, and behaviors. Can we tell true memories from false ones? In several studies, I created false memories in the minds of people, and then compared them to true memories. Once planted, the false memories look very much like true memories—in terms of behavioral characteristics, emotionality and neural signatures. If false memories can be so readily planted in the mind, do we need to think about “regulating” this mind technology? And what do these pseudo memories say about the nature of memory itself?