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People With Excellent Memory Are Also Vulnerable To False Memories

A new study reveals that even such people who have extraordinary autobiographical memory, can fall victims to false memories. This adds to the possible assertion that no one is safe from making mistakes when recalling details or incidents from the past.


False memories

False memories mean that a person is able to recollect something from his memory which didn’t actually happen. Especially, if certain memories are used to influence a person, this can be very effective in cultivating false memories in his head.

In a recent research, a number of such people who have highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) were brought together. They were then shown a fake video, being told at the same time that the video contained the footage of one of the planes from September 11th crash.

29% of the normal people said they could recall the video from their memory while 20% of the people in HSAM asserted the same. However, the video was fake and this showed that those who responded positively fell victims to false memories.

Results of the study show that while people can easily recall false memories, they are more vulnerable to them if these memories are implanted in one way or the other. This also casts a poor light on the current judicial system which relies heavily on eyewitnesses. With every person a possible victim of false memories, eyewitnesses can easily be convinced of the crime of a wrong convict and put the person behind bars. And this has been demonstrated in countless cases where DNA test eventually showed that the person convicted was actually innocent.

Source: PNAS

Courtesy: The Verge

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