False memory is a phenomenon that occurs when an individual remembers something incorrectly or inaccurately. This misremembering can often be caused by outside factors, such as interference from another thought, emotion, or feeling. In terms of psychology and cognitive science, false memories are often studied in the context of memory distortion. False memory experiments involve the deliberate introduction of false information into a person’s memories so that researchers can study how it affects their recall accuracy.
Describe false memory and false memory experiments.
The term false memory was first coined in 1975 by American psychologist Elizabeth Loftus and her colleagues. Since then, many different types of experiments have been conducted to better understand how false memories form and why they persist even after being corrected with accurate information. These experiments typically involve introducing participants to some type of misinformation (e.g., incorrect facts about people or events) before asking them questions about it—often multiple times over a period of time—in order to see if their answers become more inaccurate as they forget details along the way or develop new ones based on external cues presented to them during questioning (a phenomenon known as “memory reconfiguration”).
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