Design by Emma Rowe.
As I was listening to this radio broadcast, my mind was caught by the interview with Dr. Elizabeth Loftus about how memories can be altered, especially by suggestive questioning. I immediately thought of Professor Winkel’s story of having her wallet stolen in Hawaii. When asked by police if the suspect’s car had a hatchback trunk, the image stuck whether the car really had a hatchback or not. Daniel L. Schacter, author of “The Seven Deadly Sins of Memory,” also discusses this as being the “sin of suggestability.” In other words, too many specific details can fill in “holes” in our memories, whether true or not. This can be especially bad when questioning witnesses for crimes, since specific questions can bias the situation one way or another. The majority of false accusations in court occur as a result of suggestive questioning. It’s kind of frightening to think that our memories can be altered so easily, and frustrating at the same time, since in the attempts to remember the true memory, you may get stuck on details that really may be false.~Emily Vukson
That was a really interesting segment. I was struck by how easy it was for Loftus to plant a false childhood memory. Touching on what Emily said, it is rather unsettling to know that our memories can be altered so easily. It makes you think what memories are truly our own and which ones are fabricated through daily occurrences and conversations. I remember plenty of times when talking with friends about something that happened a few weeks prior and one friend would act like they remembered the event. The problem was I knew they weren't there. This could be them just lying, but what if they really thought they remembered the event that they weren't present for? Also, I was drawn to the story of the artist unconsciously painting subjects from an afternoon in his youth. It seems odd that he didn't make the connection sooner, but its fascinating and sad none the less. -Taylor
At first I thought the beginning was rather amusing. But after that all I could think of was "Inception is real." That movie is even better now. Anyway. Yes, I agree with those above that it is scary that ones memories can be altered but I'm not surprised. As they said in the interview, a memory can be altered just by repeating a question enough to get you to change your mind. I don't know, I think most people just don't have a clue what they remember or don't remember. As they said earlier on, people don't remember anything nowadays. So, it can't be too hard to make people believe in a false memory when they don't hold any true ones as it is. Maybe I'm a pessimist but I don't have much faith in recollection when it comes to evidence of important "facts." Storytelling and music and art in the modern world are mostly based on non-historical "memory" (at leas the work that interests me) so, I'm not too worried.
The phrase "post traumatic pleasure syndrome" really struck me during the interview with the artist. I found it really amazing to think about how a moment could be so perfect in your mind, that the memory of it almost embeds itself into your subconscious. I thought that the artist's story was very touching, and it made me wonder about how often this "post traumatic pleasure syndrome" occurs. Could this explain times when a scent or image triggers a sudden pleasant, content feeling? Are we simply subconsciously remembering a wonderful memory? Why then does our brain repress it? These are some questions, I'd like to find answers to.-Laura Gauthier
Listening to this broadcast made me think back to the first reading of this class, and the way in which the memory processes. The research done by Loftus and Collins, determined that our brain processes new information by relating it to something we already know, creating a kind of web-like diagram of information. This got me to thinking about how that process might work in term of place false memories into the brain. It seems as if the process is simple because we can connect the false memories with things we’ve already learned. The whole thing makes me think about my memories from early childhood. I wonder if I actually remember particular events my parents tell me about, or if I just relate the events to something I’ve experienced in the past. -Carrie
What I found most intriguing in this segment, like Laura, was the idea of “post traumatic pleasure syndrome.” However, thinking back on it, I could not help but get caught up in the very beginning of the discussion, when Loftus explained the procedure for implanting a false memory. She says it begins with truth, asking subjects to recall or describe real events from their past. The truths continue, with subjects being reminded of several personal experiences. The false, implanted memory being slipped into the mix. Though the thought of my own memories being manipulated by someone else is intimidating and somewhat disturbing, it is reasonable for me to believe that ones memories from long ago could easily be altered. I would like to know how far in the past these real memories surrounding the false ones go. Basically, is it possible to convince someone they experienced something (perhaps not traumatic) in the more recent past- a year, month or even a week ago?Cassie
This is great!, as a painter I fully connect with the last speaker. I do get a rush of images thrown from the back of my memory to the front. However the images I create are more of an idea of what is from my memory, the painter that is represented in the broadcast actually recreates the imagery from his memory. Perhaps what assists him is the fact it was a ptsd/emotional memory and recreating the imagery could be a mental healing process. Most importantly it was very impressive he tapped into painting those images after a long break from the art world (any break is a long break), and continued with work that proved popular but the painter was unaware of where it was from. Truly impressive, and good for him for becoming successful.
Before I listened to this segment, I always thought I had an excellent memory of my childhood. Now I am not so sure. I wonder if I am just filling in the parts that I do not remember as clearly with memories that resemble what should have happened. Like Taylor, I was also drawn to the story of the artist who painted from a specific memory. I often find myself doing this in my work. I draw upon, what I thought were specific memories, from my childhood. I often remember this time in my life as surreal and magical. This has definitely got me questioning whether my current ideas on these times are based on what actually happened. Great piece!- Ramya Ravisankar
When I was listening to the radiobroadcast, I started to think about the real memories that we cannot recall. Now we know it's possible that not all of our childhood memories are true but what about the ones that are real but forgotten. I knew that hypnosis is one way to bring your memories back. When I was searching about it I found this article stating that details of a memory can still be picked up from your brain even you can't bring it to your consciousness. In a study by Jeffrey Johnson of the University of California, Irvine, college students were put into fMRI machines to measure the pattern of the blood flow in their brains. They were given a list of words and asked questions like how they can be used, how an artist would draw it, etc. This way they would have a stronger memory about them. Later when students memories faded they could still find the signals in the brain, which means that eventhe students didn't remember the words, they were still in their brains.http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/09/forgottenmemories/
I remember when I took my introductory psychology course in high school and my teacher said that he would implant a false memory into all of us by the end of the year about something that would not happen in class that he would get us to completely believe by the end. I don't even know if it happened or not; maybe it did, maybe I've adopted it to be some real event. He just said if it was believable and plausible enough and not too far off of something that could happen, that could just think that it was a real thing. I find that fascinating, especially to make someone remember that they were lost in a shopping mall when they were a child. This person has then adopted this entire emotionally charged episodic event that has never been brought up before, and suddenly a quarter of people just add it to their memory bank. This is also interesting because we remember our childhood so often by the stories that are told to us. We remember who we were based so much on what other people tell us, and there's a possibility that those, too, are just wrong.-Megan Fajardo
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