False Memories

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Can someone remember something that never happened to them? Elizabeth E. Loftus?s article, Creating False Memories, in the September 1997 issue of Scientific American, proves the answer to be yes. It shows many instances where people have remembered eating babies, being raped, seeing their best friend murdered, or have belonged to a satanic cult. Most of the time these memories are false, and have been brought on by psychiatrists telling them to let their imaginations run wild and imagine that all these things have happened to them. So they start to imagine that for instance they were raped when they were eight years old; it then seems as if they really do remember most of the circumstances related to their rape. They then often sue the person whom they think raped them for millions of dollars and win. In some cases like this it has been proved afterwards that they are virgins, they then sue the psychiatrist who told them to imagine they had been raped in the first place.

In this article are the results of several interesting experiments. In one of them, people were told that they had been lost in the mall when they were five years old. After thinking about it, lots of the people were able to recall a few details of the incident. In others they were told to try to remember braking a window about the time they were five years old. After thinking about it, many people remember this too. This article makes it clear that false memories can be instilled very easily.

While reading this article I have found that I already agreed with most of the information put forth.

I also think that when a person forgets exactly the way something happens they are more likely to believe a...