New research has demonstrated the fascinating reality that we can come to believe we committed crimes that never happened. This talk discusses how over three studies the generation and characteristics of rich false memories of committing criminal and emotional events were examined. Study 1 was the first study ever to demonstrate how easily full false memories of committing a serious crime can be implanted when suggestive memory retrieval techniques are used in a research environment. Over three interviews, the majority of participants came to believe that they had committed a crime (theft, assault, or assault with a weapon) with police contact or experienced a non-criminal emotional event (injury, animal attack, lost a large sum of money) in early adolescence, and volunteered a detailed account. Studies 2 and 3 examined videotapes of these false memory accounts, and demonstrated that false memories are hard to distinguish from real memories. Participants were no better than chance at classifying true and false memories correctly. Together, these three studies present a strong case for the reality of criminal and emotional false memories and the importance of implementing safeguards to prevent them from happening.
Dr Julia Shaw is a senior lecturer and researcher at London South Bank University. Her primary research interests are topics at the intersection of psychology and the law, including memory, police interrogations, and lie detection. Dr Shaw also provides training opportunities to professionals, the military, and the police to maximize the effectiveness of interrogations.
Dates & times
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|1 Dec 2015||6:00pm - 7:30pm|
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