⚡ Examples Of False Memory

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Examples Of False Memory

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The Carol Felstead Scandal: a true story of false memory - Kevin Felstead - TEDxNewcastleUniversity

These children are still suggestible; their eyewitness testimonies may still have error. Research investigating earwitness memory has only recently emerged from the shadow of the extensively investigated phenomena of eyewitness memory and eyewitness testimony , despite having been in use within the English justice system since the s. A substantial proportion of the literature into witness testimony finds a robust recall advantage for visual stimuli compared to auditory stimuli. We seem to have a profound memory advantage for visual objects and scenes whilst being poorer at remembering auditory information. This finding can be extended to faces and voices; within the person recognition literature, it has been found that individuals are far better at identifying a person by their face as opposed to their voice.

Researchers define environmental sounds as those that are either animate, inanimate, artificial or natural; sounds produced by real events as opposed to machine-generated sounds; sounds that are more complex than laboratory-produced sounds and those that are dynamic and convey a sense of activity. Such environmental sounds are important sources of information and provide us with knowledge of our surroundings. Research has found that recall for environmental sounds can be dependent upon the storage and retrieval of verbalizable interpretations. In one study, individuals heard a selection of ambiguous environmental sounds and attempted to label each sound as they were presented.

A week later, individuals labelled the sounds again and it was found that re-labelling the sounds subsequently caused individuals to perform much better in the recognition test. Recognition of environmental sounds therefore appears dependent upon labeling both at input and in the test phase, either when labels are created by subjects as they hear the sounds, or when labels are generated by the experimenter and presented to subjects. Compared to memory recall for faces, voice recall appears to be significantly more vulnerable to interference.

A face overshadowing effect is often found to occur, whereby individuals' voice recognition performance is impaired with the co-presentation of a face. However, research has investigated whether earwitness memory is impaired to the same extent when the face of the one speaking is concealed in some way. Research shows that when a face is covered, with a balaclava for instance, accuracy for voice identification slightly improves; however a face overshadowing effect still exists despite the earwitness being able to see fewer facial features.

Voice pitch has also been identified as a factor that can affect voice recognition performance. Individuals are likely to exaggerate their memory for pitch; upon hearing a high pitched voice in an initial presentation such as the perpetrator's voice in a crime , individuals are likely to choose an even higher-pitched voice in the test phase audio line-up. Similarly, upon hearing a low-pitched voice, they are likely to remember the voice as being even lower in pitch when voices are presented in an audio line-up.

Researchers call this the accentuation effect. There is evidence to suggest that witnesses may find it harder to identify a perpetrator's voice if the perpetrator speaks the witness's native language with an accent compared to without one. It is thought that more cognitive effort is required to process a non-native speaker's voice. This is because a 'cost' is placed on the listener, with accented voices violating the 'speech schema' the listener is familiar with in their own geographic region. Therefore, listeners may be required to expend more effort in order to recognize and distinguish the non-native speaker's phonetic segments and words. An accent also has the potential to interfere with the witness's ability to recognize the perpetrator's appearance.

It has been found that when witnesses are asked to recall a perpetrator, the perpetrator's physical appearance is remembered less well when they have an accent compared to when they do not. This appears the case with different accents, speech content and how long a listener is exposed to the speaker. One proposed explanation for why accents can negatively affect the recall of visual information and eyewitness memory draws from Wickens' ; multiple resource theory. Only visual and auditory tasks have access to visual and auditory attentional resources, respectively. However, when a task arises which requires the use of attentional resources from both modalities, this leads to competition for resources, in turn leading the inability to accomplish one or both tasks or resulting in poorer performance.

Therefore, fewer general resources may have been available in order to encode and remember the perpetrator's appearance after witnesses had used attentional resources for the processing of the accented voice and speech content. Whilst many earwitness accounts are attained directly and 'in-the-moment', many will be acquired over a telephone or over other communication devices. Whether the earwitness hears a conversation or other auditory information in person or hears it over a communication device could impact their rate of accuracy.

However, contrary to this prediction, research has found no significant differences between the accuracy of voice identification when the voice was heard directly or over a mobile phone, despite the sound quality seeming poorer in the latter. Researchers have also investigated to what extent the distinctiveness of a voice, such as heightened emotion , can aid or impair an individual's recollection of it. There is evidence that faces are better remembered if they display emotion compared to when they appear neutral; in one study healthy control participants remembered more accurately happy faces than they did neutral faces. Research has produced conflicting results.

Bradley and Lang found that there was a memory advantage for auditory material when it was more emotional compared to when it was more neutral. However, studies investigating emotion in voices have found no significant differences between recall rates for emotional voices and neutral voices, with some research even demonstrating that emotion can impair memory recall for the voice. For instance, it was found that angry voices were recalled to a lesser extent compared to if they were neutral in tone. The amount of time between when an individual hears incriminatory information or the voice of their perpetrator, for instance, and the time they are required to recall the auditory information as an earwitness can affect their recall accuracy rate.

Memory for auditory information including voice recognition appears to decline over time; studies have found that participants can recall more correct auditory information immediately after the initial presentation than after a four-day time interval, supporting several other studies finding similar results. Furthermore, the extent to which the time-interval affects memory recall for auditory information depends upon whether the witness just heard the auditory information of whether it was accompanied by visual information too, such as the face of the perpetrator. One study has found that recall is enhanced when both auditory information is heard and visual information is seen, as opposed to just hearing auditory information.

Still, when individuals are asked to remember the voice and the speech content, they are only likely to have remembered the gist of what has been said as opposed to remembering verbatim. Earwitnesses are not typically required to give statements or recall a voice or auditory information immediately after an event has occurred, but instead are required to recall information after a time-delay. This could significantly impair the accuracy of their recall. The testimonies of those who have only heard the voice of a suspect compared to a witness who has both seen the face and heard the voice of a suspect should also be treated with extreme caution in court.

It is of critical importance that research into children's earwitness memory is also conducted in order to secure justice for child victims and witnesses. Compared to adult earwitness memory, the area of child earwitness memory has been largely neglected. They suggest that under the age of 10 a child may be overwhelmed by the cognitive demands of the task and so do not perform above chance levels on the task. They also found that voice pitch level and speaker rate was highly correlated with children's but not adults' false identification rates.

Other research found that children aged 11 to 13 years old who were tested very shortly after exposure to a voice made more correct identifications compared with children who were tested after a time interval of two weeks. This was found not to be the case for adult witnesses. It has been suggested that blind individuals have an enhanced ability to hear and recall auditory information in order to compensate for a lack of vision. This suggests that in blind individuals' brains, a reorganization of what are normally visual areas has occurred in order for them to process non-visual input.

This supports a compensatory hypothesis in the blind. Research has investigated how to improve the accuracy of earwitness performance. One study investigated whether an interview called a Cognitive Interview would improve adult or child 11—13 years voice recognition performance or speech content recall if it was administered immediately after the event. It was predicted that a cognitive interview would improve the likelihood of witnesses making a correct identification and improve recall of speech content, whether immediately after the event of after a time-delay and regardless of age.

It was also predicted that adults would recall more content than children, because other studies have indicated that children provide less detail than adults during free recall. It did not seem to matter if an interview had been conducted shortly after the event or not. Moreover, there did not seem to be any difference between children and adults in terms of the number of suspects they correctly identified by their voice.

Many researchers would suggest that this furthers the case for children aged 11—13 to be thought of as equally capable of proving potentially helpful earwitness accounts within court settings. In , Jennifer Thompson-Cannino selected Ronald Cotton from both a photographic line-up and later a physical line-up as her rapist, leading to his conviction of rape and burglary and a sentence of life in prison plus fifty-four years. Ronald Cotton spent eleven years in prison due to faulty eyewitness memory before DNA evidence exonerated him in Despite Jennifer's strong intent to study her rapist's features during the traumatic event for the purpose of identifying him afterward, she fell victim to encoding limitations at the time of the assault.

Jennifer undoubtedly experienced a great degree of stress on the night of her assault with a knife pressed to her neck and a feeling of absolute powerlessness. Even if memories are correctly encoded at the time of the event, interference and decay can alter these memories in negative ways. The simple passage of time entails memory loss, and any new information presented between the time of the crime and testimony can interfere with a witness's recall. When Jennifer was asked to identify her perpetrator from a series of photographs, she was told by officers that she should not feel compelled to make an identification.

However, Jennifer's faith in the legal system led her to believe that the police must have had a suspect to warrant her participation in photographic identification. And when Jennifer selected the photo of Ronald, the police told her she did great. The photograph of Jennifer's true rapist, Bobby Poole, was not included in the lineup. The positive feedback Jennifer received allowed her to begin incorporating details from the photograph into her memory of the attack. The fact that Jennifer took five minutes to study the pictures before she selected Ronald Cotton's photo also allowed Jennifer ample opportunity to encode Ronald's face as her assailant and thereby interfere with her original memory.

The photographs were presented simultaneously, allowing Jennifer to compare the photographs to each other as opposed to her memory of the event. As a result, when she was later asked to choose her assailant from a physical line-up, Jennifer saw Ronald in her memory and thus chose him. Unfortunately, the level of confidence in an eyewitness' recall is not associated with accuracy of identification. The eyewitness' confidence in his or her recall is, however, strongly associated with the jury's belief in the accuracy of the eyewitness' testimony, thus increasing the risk of assigning guilty verdicts to innocent individuals.

Even after Jennifer learned of Ronald's innocence, she still saw his face in her memory of the attack years later. It wasn't until she met with Ronald face-to-face and he gave her his forgiveness did she begin to see Ronald for himself rather than as her assailant, thus beginning a remarkable and unexpected friendship. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Imperfect recall of a crime or other dramatic event. Journal of Applied Psychology. PMID Mike Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.

Actual Innocence. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. Psychological Bulletin. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling. PMC Current Directions in Psychological Science. CiteSeerX S2CID Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. The Influence of Race on Eyewitness Memory. Lindsay, D. Ross, J. Toglia Eds. Journal of Social Issues. Quas; Allison D. Redlich; Gail S. Goodman In Nelson Cowan; Charles Hulme eds. The Development of Memory in Childhood. UK: Psychology Press. American Psychologist.

Annual Review of Neuroscience. Cognitive Therapy and Research. Practical Neurology. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. ISBN Applied Cognitive Psychology. Examining the role of attention in the weapon focus effect". Pickel Lindsay; David F. Ross; J. Don Read; Michael P. Toglia eds. Scientific American. Retrieved American Scientist. Bibcode : AmSci.. Journal of Memory and Language. Wells February Law and Human Behavior. Dietrich; Shannon L. Ryan; Jeanette L. Raczynski; Kali A. James August Psychology Today.

Malpass; Colin G. Tredoux; Dawn McQuiston-Surrett Eyewitness identification: Lineup instructions and the absence of the offender" Journal of Applied Psychology 66 4 , — Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Psychological Science. Pleban; David R. Shaffer February The Journal of Social Psychology. Meissner; Siegfried L. Sporer; Jonathon W. Schooler In many cases, false memories form because the information is not encoded correctly in the first place.

Recounting the events that occurred can be difficult or even impossible since they did not actually witness all of the details. A person's mind might fill in the "gaps" by forming memories that did not actually occur. In other cases, old memories and experiences compete with newer information. As we are piecing old information back together, there are sometimes holes or gaps in our memory. Our minds try to fill in the missing spaces, often using current knowledge as well as beliefs or expectations. While you probably feel like your memories of the event are pretty accurate, there is a very strong chance that your recollections have been influenced by subsequent news coverage and stories about the attacks. This newer information might compete with your existing memories of the event or fill in missing bits of information.

If you've ever tried to recall the details of an emotionally-charged event e. Sometimes strong emotions can make an experience more memorable, but they can sometimes lead to mistaken or untrustworthy memories. Researchers have found that people tend to be more likely to remember events connected to strong emotions, but that the details of such memories are often suspect. Retelling important events can also lead to a false belief in the accuracy of the memory. One study found that negative emotions, in particular, were more likely to lead to the formation of false memories. A study found that false memories were significantly more frequent during periods of high arousal than during periods of low arousal, regardless of whether the mood was positive, negative, or neutral.

Sometimes accurate information gets mixed with incorrect information, which then distorts our memories for events. Loftus has been studying false memories since the s and her work has revealed the serious consequences that misinformation can have on memory. In her studies, participants were shown images of a traffic accident. When questioned about the event after seeing the images, the interviewers included leading questions or misleading information. When the participants were later tested on their memory of the accident, those who had been fed misleading information were more likely to have false memories of the event. The serious potential impact of this misinformation effect can be easily seen in the area of criminal justice, where mistakes can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Brainerd and Reyna suggest that false recollections during the interrogation process are the leading cause of false convictions. Have you ever mixed up the details of one story with the details of another? For example, while telling a friend about your last vacation you might mistakenly relate an incident that happened on a vacation you took several years ago. This is an example of how misattribution can form false memories.

This might involve combining elements of different events into one cohesive story, misremembering where you obtained a particular piece of information, or even recalling imagined events from your childhood and believing that they are real. When forming a memory, we don't always focus on the nitty-gritty details and instead remember an overall impression of what happened. Fuzzy trace theory suggests that we sometimes make verbatim traces of events and other times make only gist traces. Verbatim traces are based on the real events as they actually happened, while gist traces are centered on our interpretations of events. How does this explain false memories? Sometimes how we interpret information does not accurately reflect what really happened.

These biased interpretations of events can lead to false memories of the original events. Type the following sentence without looking down at your hands: "Every red pepper is tantalizing. You probably found it quite easy to type the above sentence without having to consciously think about where each letter appears on the keyboard. That task requires implicit memory. Having to recall which letters appear in the top row of your keyboard, however, is something that would require explicit memory. Since you have probably never sat down and intentionally committed the order of those keys to memory, it's not something that you are able to easily recall. Research suggests that there are a number of factors that can influence the formation of both explicit and implicit memory, including stress levels and emotional states.

One study found that high-stress levels on working memory, a part of short-term memory that acts as a temporary holding space for information people are focusing on at the moment. This part of memory is important in the formation of explicit memories. The research also suggested that stress may actually facilitate the formation of implicit memories for negative emotional information. Studies have also suggested that mood can also play an important role in the formation and recall of explicit and implicit memories. Explicit and implicit memory play important roles in shaping your ability to recall information and interact in your environment. Knowing some of the major differences between the two is important for understanding how memory works.

Ever wonder what your personality type means? Sign up to find out more in our Healthy Mind newsletter. A meta-analytic review of mood-congruent implicit memory in depressed mood. Clin Psychol Rev. Stress effects on working memory, explicit memory, and implicit memory for neutral and emotional stimuli in healthy men. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. Types of Explicit Memory Episodic memory : These are your long-term memories of specific events, such as what you did yesterday or your high school graduation.

Semantic memory : These are memories of facts, concepts, names, and other general knowledge. What Is Short-Term Memory? Explicit Memory Are encoded to memory and later retrieved Are often formed deliberately through rehearsal Can be encoded unconsciously and tied to emotions May be drawn into awareness through associations. Implicit Memory Becomes automatic over time with repetition Begins with learning skills and mastering a task Can result in priming, or responding the same way to similar stimuli Is often dependent upon context and cues. How Stress Affects Memory.

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