Abstract

For more than four decades, I have been studying human memory. My research concerns the malleable nature of memory. Information suggested to an individual about an event can be integrated with the memory of the event itself, so that what actually occurred, and what was discussed later about what may have occurred, become inextricably interwoven, allowing distortion, elaboration, and even total fabrication. In my writings, classes, and public speeches, I’ve tried to convey one important take-home message: Just because someone tells you something in great detail, with much confidence, and with emotion, it doesn’t mean that it is true. Here I describe my professional life as an experimental psychologist, in which I’ve eavesdropped on this process, as well as many personal experiences that may have influenced my thinking and choices.

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