The Formation of False Memories

  title={The Formation of False Memories},
  author={Elizabeth F. Loftus and Jacqueline E. Pickrell},
  journal={Psychiatric Annals},
For most of this century, experimental psychologists have been interested in how and why memory fails. As Greene2 has aptly noted, memories do not exist in a vacuum. Rather, they continually disrupt each other, through a mechanism that we call "interference." Literally thousands of studies have documented how our memories can be disrupted by things that we experienced earlier (proactive interference) or things that we experienced later (retroactive interference). 

Recent advances in false memory research

In the last few years, substantial gains have been made in our understanding of human memory errors and the phenomenon of false memory, wherein individuals remember entire events that did not happen

How misinformation alters memories.

It is described how the Brainerd and Reyna's conjoint misinformation method and their fuzzy-trace theory fits with the other methods and theories which have been used to understand how misleading postevent information affects people's memory.

The Role of the Self in False Memory Creation

Summary People will create false memories of childhood experiences. In this article, the research that demonstrates the creation of false memories is first described. Three processes that may be

Memory illusions and consciousness: Examining the phenomenology of true and false memories

Several recent false memory studies have addressed the question of how false memories are experienced phenomenologically. In this article we argue that it is not only possible to address questions of

False Memories: What the Hell are They For?

Recollecting the past is often accompanied by a sense of veracity—a subjective feeling that we are reencountering fragments of an episode as it occurred. Yet years of research suggest that we can be

Compelling Memory Illusions

that never happened?due in large part to controversies such as the ones surrounding the accuracy of lost or repressed memories recov ered during psychotherapy (e.g., Pezdek & Banks, 1996), false iden

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.

Make-believe memories.

  • E. Loftus
  • Psychology
    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.



False memories of childhood experiences.

We conducted two experiments to investigate if college students would create false memories of childhood experiences in response to misleading information and repeated interviews. In both experiments

The myth of repressed memory : false memories and allegations of sexual abuse

According to many clinical psychologists, when the mind is forced to endure a horrifying experience, it has the ability to bury the entire memory of it so deeply within the unconscious that it can

Repeatedly Thinking about a Non-event: Source Misattributions among Preschoolers

Abstract In this paper we review the factors alleged to be responsible for the creation of inaccurate reports among preschool-aged children, focusing on so-called "source misattribution errors." We

The possible role of source misattributions in the creation of false beliefs among preschoolers.

Findings from an ongoing program of research indicate that, although all children are susceptible to making source misattributions, very young children may be disproportionately vulnerable to these kinds of errors.

When A Lie Becomes Memory's Truth: Memory Distortion After Exposure to Misinformation

Current research shows how memory can become skewed when people assimilate new data utilizes a simple paradigm, and how the authors become tricked by revised data about a witnessed event is a central goal.

Who remembers best? Individual differences in memory for events that occurred in a science museum

Individual differences in memory and suggestibility were assessed in an experiment involving 1989 people who attended the Exploratorium, a science museum located in San Francisco. Subjects watched a

Misleading postevent information and memory for events: arguments and evidence against memory impairment hypotheses.

It is argued that the available evidence does not imply that misleading postevent information impairs memory for the original event, because the procedure used in previous studies is inappropriate for assessing effects of misleading information on memory.

The Cognitive Neuroscience of False Memories