Friday, October 04, 2013

Elizabeth Loftus - The Fiction of Memory (TEDGlobal 2013)

This is an interesting TED Talk for anyone interested in the (un)reliability of memory - or the lack of it - known as false memories.
Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn't happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It's more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics, and raises some important ethical questions we should all remember to consider.

Memory-manipulation expert Elizabeth Loftus explains how our memories might not be what they seem -- and how implanted memories can have real-life repercussions.
Loftus is the author of Eyewitness Testimony: With a new preface by the author (1996), The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse (1996), and The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers (2002).

Elizabeth Loftus - The Fiction of Memory

A talk by APS Past President Elizabeth Loftus, University of California, Irvine, has become an overnight sensation among TED viewers, garnering over 300,000 views in the first week it was available online.

In this talk, given at TEDGlobal 2013, Loftus explores the “fiction of memory,” illustrating the malleability of what we often consider to be a veridical record of our experiences. She shows how memory can be influenced, often in very subtle ways, and she highlights the real-life repercussions that false memories can have.

Loftus is a leading expert on memory — in particular, false memory. Over 40 years of research, Loftus has helped to overturn the concept of memory as a simple reconstruction of past events, revealing the extent to which people use new and existing information to fill in gaps in their recall of an event or experience.

Her research has had far-ranging implications for the legal system, demonstrating the unreliable nature of eyewitness testimony. Due to her unique expertise, Loftus has testified as a memory expert in more than 250 hearings and trials, including some of the most famous cases of the 20th century — the Oklahoma City bombing investigation; the murder trials of O.J. Simpson, Ted Bundy, and the Menendez brothers; the trial of the police officers accused in the 1991 beating of Rodney King; and many more.

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