False Memories Last A Long Time

We rely so heavily on our memories but how accurate are they? Do false Dreamstimememories last? And do they last as long as true ones? I recently read a study completed by several of the keynote speakers at the European Congress of Psychology who wondered whether experimentally created false memories would persist for an extended period (one and a half years).

The study: 342 subjects participated in a three-stage misinformation procedure (saw the event slides, read the narrations with misinformation, and then took the memory tests). The initial tests showed that misinformation led to a significant amount of false memory. One and a half years later, the participants were tested again. About half of the misinformation false memory persisted, which was the same rate as for true memory. These results strongly suggest that brief exposure to misinformation can lead to long-term false memory and that the strength of memory trace was similar for true and false memories.

It’s scary. This means that lies or misinformation resulting in creation of false memories remains just as long as the real thing. The implications for what children are told or what they come to mistakenly believe is disturbing.

Source:Bi Zhu, Chuansheng Chen, Elizabeth F. Loftus, Qinghua He, Chunhui Chen, Xuemei Lei, Chongde Lin and Qi Dong. 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.



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One Response to “False Memories Last A Long Time”

  1. December 1st, 2013 9:16 pm

    That is very disturbing. you are my real cousin, aren’t you? I’ve always thought that the only way to bring peace into this world is to stop the flow of misinformation that creates false realities. But, how? Have to start with the little ones…

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