Article Analysis: EF Loftus' Creating false memories

Topics: Psychology, Cognition, Amnesia Pages: 2 (462 words) Published: September 29, 2013

Directed Questions
The author of this article talks about many things that could induce false memories. One of the more prominent ones is “source confusion”. Source confusion refers to a subject recalling an event, but is unaware of the source of the recollection. Imagining things happening within the memory makes an event seem more familiar. Details of the event have been suggested by the experimenter, and the subject had thought that the suggested memory had actually occurred. Subjects who imagined an event, such as tripping and breaking a window or calling 911, were more likely to perceive these events as true than participants that didn't imagine them. Similarly participants who were asked to recall memories from the day of their birth, even though this is impossible due to an underdeveloped brain, had claimed to have recalled infant memories. Both of these examples can be attributed to “source confusion”. The findings from the experiments are highly generalizable because 11% of therapists surveyed tell their patients to “let their imagination run wild”, and as stated before, imagining things happening within a memory makes an event seem more familiar, and if an event seems more familiar to someone they are more likely to perceive that “memory” as an actual event (Lofus, E.F. 1997). Even though I do believe all of the studies are at least somewhat generalizable I do believe that some studies were more externally valid than others. For example the imagination inflation procedure in the article takes 40 childhood experiences and asks participants to imagine themselves doing whatever it was that the experimenter had asked them to. Most of the scenarios that the experimenter had asked them to imagine, I had myself been in similar if not exactly those scenarios (Ex. Getting a bad haircut, finding 10 dollars, and an emergency room visit). So how could you tell if the memories were false or if they were actually recalling things they had experienced? The...
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