Memories of Things Unseen

  title={Memories of Things Unseen},
  author={Elizabeth F. Loftus},
  journal={Current Directions in Psychological Science},
  pages={145 - 147}
  • E. Loftus
  • Published 1 August 2004
  • Psychology
  • Current Directions in Psychological Science
New findings reveal more about the malleability of memory. Not only is it possible to change details of memories for previously experienced events, but one can sometimes also plant entirely false memories into the minds of unsuspecting individuals, even if the events would be highly implausible or even impossible. False memories might differ statistically from true ones, in terms of certain characteristics such as confidence or vividness, but some false memories are held with a great degree of… 
Emotional content of true and false memories
The current research assessed the emotional content of participants’ pre-existing and manipulated memories for childhood events to suggest that even substantial emotional content may not reliably indicate memory accuracy.
False memory in nonhuman animals.
Evidence from behavioral and neuroscience research with nonhuman animals that suggests the intriguing possibility that they, like their human counterparts, are vulnerable to creating false memories is reviewed and its relevance to the empirical understanding offalse memories is considered.
Anchoring effects in the development of false childhood memories
People who saw a description first reported more false images and memories than did people whosaw a photo first, a result that fits with an anchoring account of false childhood memories.
Truth in Emotional Memories
So said Jackson Browne in his 1974 track “Fountain of Sorrow.” The album containing this track stayed for 29 weeks on the Billboard Top Pop Album Chart. While we know rather little about changing the
Disfluent presentations lead to the creation of more false memories
It is suggested that more disfluent presentations can increase the likelihood that false memories are created, and provide little positive performance benefit.
Me Too!: Social Modelling Influences on Early Autobiographical Memories
To investigate the malleability of early memories, 200 participants were asked to describe their earliest memories. Before doing so, approximately half were exposed to confederates who described very
Creating false memories: Effects of varying types of details contained in photographs
Recent research has suggested that false narratives produce higher false memory rates than false photographs. This has been explained in terms of photographs being higher in constraint, defined as
Development of extended memory
  • K. Nelson
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Journal of Physiology-Paris
  • 2007
It is the nature of changing experience, the result of both biological and social-cultural conditions that eventuates in a changed memory system that enables long-term retention of episodic memories, thus establishing the autobiographical memory system.
Children's false memories: easier to elicit for a negative than for a neutral event.
Results showed that the negative event elicited more false memories than the neutral event, and the presentation of a true photograph did not promote the development of false memories.
Revelation effects in remembering, forecasting, and perspective taking
The results are consistent with studies showing strong parallels between remembering and other forms of self-projection but not with semantic memory judgments, which suggests common boundary conditions for both types of judgments.


Make-believe memories.
  • E. Loftus
  • Psychology, Medicine
    The American psychologist
  • 2003
This work has shown that postevent suggestion can contaminate what a person remembers and lead to false memories being injected outright into the minds of people.
The Nature of Real, Implanted, and Fabricated Memories for Emotional Childhood Events: Implications for the Recovered Memory Debate
An in-depth investigation of real, implanted, and fabricated (deceptive) memories for stressful childhood events was provided and it was examined whether false memories for emotional events could be implanted and, if so, whether real, implant, and fabrication memories had distinctive features.
Imagination and Memory
A growing body of literature shows that imagining contrary-to-truth experiences can change memory. Recent experiments are reviewed to show that when people think about or imagine a false event,
Imagination Can Create False Autobiographical Memories
Previous studies have shown that imagining an event can alter autobiographical beliefs. The current study examined whether it can also create false memories. One group of participants imagined a
Comparing recollective experience in true and false autobiographical memories.
  • C. Heaps, M. Nash
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Journal of experimental psychology. Learning, memory, and cognition
  • 2001
Differences between true and false memories suggest some potentially distinct characteristics of false memories and provide insight into the process of false memory creation.
True Photographs and False Memories
This study asked 45 undergraduates to work at remembering three school-related childhood events and found the rate of false-memory reports in the photo condition was substantially higher than the rate in any previously published study.
Changing beliefs about implausible autobiographical events: A little plausibility goes a long way.
Three experiments investigated the malleability of perceived plausibility and the subjective likelihood of occurrence of plausible and implausible events among participants who had no recollection of
Make my memory: How advertising can change our memories of the past
Marketers use autobiographical advertising as a means to create nostalgia for their products. This research explores whether such referencing can cause people to believe that they had experiences as
Psychophysiological Responding During Script-Driven Imagery in People Reporting Abduction by Space Aliens
Heart rate, skin conductance, and left lateral frontalis electro-myographic responses in individuals who reported having been abducted by space aliens indicated that belief that one has been traumatized may generate emotional responses similar to those provoked by recollection of trauma.
Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology
Part I. Experimental Studies: 2. Experiment in psychology 3. Experiments on perceiving III Experiments on imaging 4-8. Experiments on remembering: (a) The method of description (b) The method of