Intro: What Are False Memories?
Have you every specifically remembered an event such as going to a basketball game then you were reminded by someone that you didn’t go because you were sick or something. If so, you have created a false memory. The study of false memories began in the early 1990’s when people started to report “recovered” memories of abuse (Laney & Loftus 1). To understand how false memories work, you first need a basic understanding of how the memory works. In general your brain stores memories in different ways depending on what type of memory they are. For example short term memories are most often stored in acoustic form but long term memories are stored by their meanings (Foster 3). Because of this, long term memories are more prone to errors. To be able to convert your short term memories into long term memories you use the diencephalon and hippocampal regions in your brain (Foster 3). This process is the reason that you are able to create and store your long term memories. The removal of one of the Hippocampus will not have much of an effect but if you are to remove both of them you could end up not being able to create new long term memories (Ornstein and Thompson 136). On the other hand memories are eventually forgotten because the brain can only hold on to so many things (Thean 1).
This understanding will help you better comprehend the creation of false memories. False memories are most simply the recollection of events that you believe to have happened when they truly did not. There are many ways scientists believe false memories are created. Some scientist conclude that every time you access your memory you rewrite it a little different so it will never completely be the exact recap of events that people tend to believe their memory is (Hall 1). These new findings have caused much research to be conducted on memories and as a result false memories as well. False memories have been studied since the early 1990’s because they have become a controversial topic, have shown both positive and negative effects, and have been proven that everyone creates them.
Section One: The Debate over False Memories
False memories have been studied science the early 1990’s because they have become controversial topic. In the beginning they was no thought that your memory would be unfaithful and that if you had a memory that you “recovered” it had to be true because your memory couldn’t fail you. Could it? Well one woman’s disbelief caused her, Susan Clancy, who was a Harvard University graduate student at the time decided that while everyone else was arguing over the accuracy of recovered memories, she would create a study on them (Grierson 1). Clancy first started out by interviewing her subjects that said to have recovered memories of abuse after they had gone through therapy. The stories were horrifying but she was brought up to believe that what they were telling her was true. But, soon after she found herself wondering if they...