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Confusing or Making up Details to a Story? Blame it on Those All-Nighters.

November 24th, 2015 No comments

According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Sure, we all know sleep is important for our health, but life always seems to intervene and these ideal seven to nine hours turn into four to five hours. Lacking sleep like this may make many of us feel tired and irritable, but we often fail to recognize how it may impact our memory for a day’s events. Sleep deprivation makes it tougher to remember things, such as witnessing a car accident or remembering a friend’s story. It is even possible for it to cause us to make up memories for events that never happened!

M_Id_401088_Kids_SleepResearchers Frenda, Patihis, Loftus, Lewis, and Fenn (2014) strived to investigate this and conducted a combination of experiments about sleep deprivation’s effect on false memories. False memories are memories of an event that either occurred differently from how you remember it or never occurred at all. These can be as extreme as believing you have a memory for visiting a city you never did or as mundane as construing a memory for a video you have never seen before. Making up memories like this can yield dire consequences, especially with eyewitness testimonies where an individual may be wrongfully charged because of a witness’ false memory. However, can a lack of sleep make this more likely to happen? Read more…

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