What are false memories?
- As memory is reconsctructive, we can 'remember' things that never actually happened.
- The overconfidence we can have in our false memories can result from;
- Source memory: Memory of the exact source of information
- Processing fluency: The ease at which something 'comes to mind' (remember something so vividly you cant possibly have imagined it)
- Roediger&McDermott (1995); Found that pps claimed to have remembered the lure 'sleep' rather than 'knowing' it was on the list.
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EWT and Persuasiveness
- In the legal system, EWT is the most persuasive form of evidence. In fact, EWs are believed 80% of the time (Loftus 1983).
- Juries can often not tell the difference between an accurate and inaccurate witness.
- Wells et al (1998); Found that 90% of 40 cases studied had false EW identification. (They were later cleared by DNA.)
- Rattner (1988); 52% of 205 cases were wrongly convicted due to false EWT
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EWT and false memory explanations
- Schema driven errors
- When witnesses to crimes filter information during acquisition and recall
- Their schematic understanding may influence how info is stored and retrieved and distortions may occur without the witness realising, e.g being influenced by past experiences, assumptions and stereotypes.
- Interference paradigms
- Information presented AFTER an event may lead to interference, e.g by being incorporated into the original memory.
- Misinformation effects
- Can include repeated questioning, which may enhance memory of one event and induce forgetting of another (can also increase confidence in the falso memory)
- Similarly, repeated exposure to the misinformation can strengthen false memories.
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Garry & Wade (2005)
- The main aim of this study was to investigate whether photographs or narratives influence memory more than others. Also, it aimed to resolve conflict in theoretical research as to whether narratives or photographs were more powerful in eliciting false memories.
- It was found that narratives were more likely to produce false memory reports than photos, possibly as they induce more familiarity.
- In the narrative group, the three main important findings were that false recall rates were higher than any other group, they were more likely to shift memory category than any other group and when they did switch groups, they created more false memories than the photo group.
- The narrative group had more enhanced memories than the photos.
- Pps who spent more time 'remembering' were more likely to experience false memories.
- Photographs seem to act as a 'memory crutch' and provide credibility to test claims against. however narratives demand more behaviours that increase fluency and so induce processing/familiarity.
- However, issues include time for recall was not controlled for (an showed to have an effect), true events generally produced higher ratings than doctored, forced performance (preferred other condition to theirs) and confidence issues (low compared to IRL events)
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