False Memory Case Study

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False memories are events recalled by a witness that did not actually happen. There is research which suggests that up to 20% of those studied maintain a record of detailed personal memories that are completely false (Mazzoni, Scoboria, and Harvey, 2010). As reported in Alexander (2013), false memories can even be found in those with an otherwise excellent recall: Some people have an amazing ability to recall specific events, like exactly what happened on a particular day decades ago. For example, when one person with such so-called highly superior autobiographical memory (HSAM) was asked what happened on October 19, 1987, she quickly replied that it was a Monday, “the day of the big stock market crash and the cellist Jacqueline du Pré died…show more content…
Elizabeth Loftus from the University of California, Irvine. That about a legal case that her worked on involving a man named Steve Titus.Titus was a restaurant manager. He was 31 years old, he lived in Seattle, Washington, he was engaged to Gretchen, about to be married, she was the love of his life. And one night, the couple went out for a romantic restaurant meal. They were on their way home, and they were pulled over by a police officer. You see, Titus' car sort of resembled a car that was driven earlier in the evening by a man who raped a female hitchhiker, and Titus kind of resembled that rapist. So the police took a picture of Titus, they put it in a photo line-up, they later showed it to the victim, and she pointed to Titus' photo. She said, "That one's the closest." The police and the prosecution proceeded with a trial, and when Steve Titus was put on trial for rape, the rape victim got on the stand and said, "I'm absolutely positive that's the man." And Titus was convicted. He proclaimed his innocence, his family screamed at the jury, his fiancée collapsed on the floor sobbing, and Titus is taken away to…show more content…
He spent every waking moment thinking about it, and just days before he was to have his day in court; he woke up in the morning, doubled over in pain, and died of a stress-related heart attack. He was 35 years old. So I was asked to work on Titus' case because I'm a psychological scientist. I study memory. I've studied memory for decades. And if I meet somebody on an airplane -- this happened on the way over to Scotland -- if I meet somebody on an airplane, and we ask each other, "What do you do? What do you do?" and I say "I study memory," they usually want to tell me how they have trouble remembering names, or they've got a relative who's got Alzheimer's or some kind of memory problem, but I have to tell them I don't study when people forget. I study the opposite: when they remember, when they remember things that didn't happen or remember things that were different from the way they really were. I study false

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