Friday, September 13, 2013

Interview on False Memories

Saw this fascinating interview with Elizabeth Loftus regarding false memories.

Here's a sample of the interview:
[Alison George]: Do you think it's not possible to repress memories of traumatic events?

[Elizabeth Loftus]: It is possible not to think about something for a long time, even something unpleasant that happened to you. But what's been claimed in these repressed-memory cases is something, by definition, that's too extreme to be explained by ordinary forgetting and remembering. They're saying that in order to go on in life, you had to wall off this memory, because it would be too painful to live with. Then finally you go into therapy and crack through the repression barrier and out comes this pristine memory. But there really is no credible scientific support for that notion.
AG: Is it the power of suggestion from a therapist that creates these "memories," then?

EL: Yes, a lot of the cases involve suggestive psychotherapy. But you don't absolutely need the therapy. You can get suggestion from the culture and the environment, like when somebody turns on Oprah and sees one of these repressed-memory therapists talking, then believes this has happened to them.
I encountered this idea of repressed memories before, but recently I have encountered several stories that have led me to suspect that they can are false and unreliable, and it is remarkably easy to conjure up a false memory.

Hat tip Cult News Network.

No comments:

Post a Comment