What’s real? Why ‘false memories’ are trouble for police, juries and judges

a aa b c b a
Credit: Jakob Owens / Unsplash

In 2015, memory researcher and psychologist Julia Shaw and her co-author published a study on false memories. Over the course of several interviews, they claimed to have convinced a substantial percentage of volunteers into recalling false childhood memories. In one especially frightening experiment, they reported that around 70 percent of volunteers could be made to recall false memories of having committed a crime as preteens.

Shaw’s latest study, published [April 8] in Frontiers in Psychology, took some of the recorded accounts from the original experiment and showed them to groups of volunteers in two new experiments, totaling over 200 people.

Related article:  What physicists get wrong about free will

Across both experiments, volunteers appeared to do only slightly better than chance in guessing correctly that a memory was true, with roughly a 60 percent accuracy rate. And they weren’t statistically better than chance when it came to sniffing out a false memory.

“The main thing this research tells us is that false memories of highly emotional and criminal events look really convincing to other people,” Shaw, now an honorary research associate at University College London, told Gizmodo via email. This is significant because it could have serious implications for police, juries, and judges who rely on eyewitness testimony.

Read the original post

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend