Custom «Memory Assignment: Article Review» Essay Paper Sample

Memory Assignment: Article Review

Memory charts our progressive development – hence its complexity. It recalls our past and stores the knowledge we have gleaned through Time. Sans memory we would live for the moment and fail to fully savor life by going back and forth. But memory is not always reliable – it can deceive us and make us think that something happened when it never did. Elizabeth F. Loftus and others have proved that there is such a phenomenon as false memory. Memory despite being one of the most reliable sources of experience can often delude us. A group was questioned about their witnessing a simulated car accident. They were then presented with multiple queries whose structure was the same but use of words referring to the accident varied. One query focused on the word “fast” while another on “smash” (Loftus 84). Those responding to the question with smash described scattered splintered glass although this was not the case. This same thing can be noted in other instances. Loftus points to this aspect of representation by the witnesses in the world of law when criminal suspects require identification. This has led to the innocent being dubbed as criminals. This led to psychologists to induce false memories into the persons they were experimenting on. It showed that the subjects could recall false information as true. False memories can be generated easily. This has led to a change in investigation procedures. Instead of asking if the car was red, the question asked was about the color of the car. This avoidance of leading questions has resulted in reducing the numbers of wrong convictions. The very fragility of memory causes it to be easily tampered with. This is the wonderful world of the human mind and here one can manipulate memory of another if needed.

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Crimes of Memory: False Memories and Societal Justice by Elizabeth F. Loftus is a very important work on the aspects of complexity related to memory and implementation of false memory. It is clear from the article that it is relatively easy to insert false memory in the mind of an individual. For example, in an interrogation room the police can ask close ended questions to direct an individual towards a specific goal. The police officer can use terms like “butchered” or “massacred” in case of a murder and ask the witness to describe the dead body from his or her memory. The witness will invariably answer that there was blood all over the place even if, in reality, there was only one bullet wound or a single stabbing mark. The police can also use terms like “saintly” or “gentleman” while describing the murdered person and ask about the feeling of the witness regarding the whereabouts of the dead person. In this case too the witness will surely note that there was hardly any person better than the victim and that murdered person was very well dressed and was a genuine good man, even to the level of a generous philanthropist. The murdered person may be an ordinary crook but the way the police questioned the witness with suggestive adjectives about the murder created an illusion of memory inside the mind of the witness. This is false memory and this can be constructed with relative ease if the methods of using it are known. This methodical approach with well formulated goal setting can easily derail a witness from the truth and false memory can be blamed for this result. This is a method of psychological influence which can ramify the chain of memory and beliefs by inserting memories of incidents that never occurred as in the case of the witness in the police interrogation room.

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