Posts Tagged ‘Misinformation’

Eager To Please: Confabulation in healthy and amnesic individuals

April 17th, 2017 4 comments

If we can trust anyone, we should first trust ourselves, right? Not always, as cases of confabulation tell us. Imagine not being able to trust the accuracy of your own memory! And worse, not even knowing that you can’t trust it!

Individuals who confabulate genuinely believe that their memory is accurate, when in fact they are reporting or remembering false things. For example, an amnesic patient might tell a doctor an elaborate story about his weekend, which he says he spent in New York City exploring art museums. In reality, the patient was in the hospital the entire weekend, but has no doubt that the story he’s relaying to his doctor is true.

Confabulation is the unconscious process of producing false memories, and it can affect anyone. Those affected by confabulation range from amnesic patients to an average person participating in a psychological study. Obviously, the severity and consequences of the confabulation vary depending on the individual and the situation.
Read more…

Bombers and Plagiarism: How Memory Misattributions can get us in Trouble

February 22nd, 2017 No comments

On April 19 of 1995, 168 people lost their lives in one of the most devastating cases of domestic terrorism on US soil. Although many remember Timothy McVeigh as the primary culprit of this attack, in the days shortly after the attack, a nationwide hunt for an accomplice was underway, based on the recollections of an employee at the garage where McVeigh had rented the van used in the attack. A mug shot of the suspect was widely circulated and rumors about accomplices abounded. However, after an extensive investigation, no such suspect was identified and McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who provided material support, were the only two people held responsible for the bombing. To this date, many a conspiracy theory still suggest a second bomber was involved, even if the authorities declared the case to be closed ( Although many cases of mistaken eyewitness testimony occur (Zaragoza & Lane, 1994), with many innocent people sentenced to jail ( it is less common for a witness to remember a suspect who never existed. So, where did John Doe 2 come from? And how was he implicated in – and later cleared of – any wrong-doing?

Read more…

Categories: Memory Tags:

Do You Remember What Happened? The Power of Memory Distortion

May 1st, 2014 2 comments

A memory is an event we remember from our past. We have memories of the first time we rode a bike, the time we graduated high school, our first boyfriend/girlfriend and even memories of where we were on 9/11. We believe that our memories are true recollections of what happened, and that what we remember is accurate. However, this isn’t always true; memories are fallible even under the best conditions. In fact, false memories, implanted memories and misinformation are very likely to distort our memory.

Read more…