The Misinformation Effect by Matthew Landeen

The Misinformation effect – Incorporating “misinformation” into one’s memory of the event after witnessing an event and receiving misleading information about it.

Some of us may recall an event and tell the story of what happened believing that everything we “remember” actually happened.  Memory can be misleading and manipulated.

http://youtu.be/Q8xPfJ8cPhs

In this video, the male telling the story of when he was lost as a child appears to be a true memory.  He believes that this event really occurred.  He even created specifics in his memory like the flannel shirt.

This can be interesting in a court room because a lot of what the jury can go by is “eye witnesses.”  After many studies, we understand that an eye witness may not be as accurate and reliable as we originally thought.  When someone wants to believe something so badly that person can create memories of an event that never happened or alter the true memory to match the desired memory.

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  1. #1 by ryanturner1989 on June 7, 2012 - 11:39 PM

    Matthew, this example was a little too perfect of an example of the misinformation effect…JK, good job on the YouTube hunt! As I was watching the clip, I asked myself, “Why do we ‘create’ memories of certain events and believe that they are real?” The answer I came up with was something like, “Well, we all, to one degree or another, want to portray our behavior and even our memory in a way that’s in accordance with what other people desire. Whenever our past behavior doesn’t quite match society’s socially desirable behavior, we ‘remember’ details that ever so slightly change our story in order to match what society wants to hear.” For me, I think that this is the root of why the misinformation effect occurs within us. Good job on the post. Your friend, Ryan. 🙂

  2. #2 by tatiherman on June 7, 2012 - 11:53 PM

    I can completely relate to this and your example was a good one. It illustrated very well how we can completely convince ourselves that something happened a certain way when it in fact didn’t.

  3. #3 by samuelsalik on June 7, 2012 - 11:54 PM

    That’s the greatest challenge of therapy with people who report and are traumatized by rape or any kind of abuse suffered in childhood. Like you said, our perception can play tricks on us. We are biased towards our own circumstances in life, and we may even create events in the past based on our current crappy life. Therefore, personality therapists have this big task to enable people to perceive their past differently and find out what really happened back in the day.
    Good post.

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