Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus explores the myths of memory

January 2017
Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior and Criminology, Law and Society, is featured in an article in The Sydney Morning Herald for her research on memory, and the development of false memories. During her lecture at the University of Sydney in Australia, Professor Loftus identified numerous ways in which false memories can be created.
From The Sydney Morning Herald:
"You can distort people's memories with a leading question or by exposing them to another person's version of an
event," she said. "You can plant entirely false memories into the minds of people."
The ability to manipulate our own memories can be useful, said the law professor based at the University of California, Irvine.
"There could be a survival benefit," she said. "It's a system which allows us to update our memories with correct information when errors creep in. That's a good thing.
"People have prestige-enhancing memory distortions so we remember we got better grades than we really did or we gave more to charity than we
really did. That allows us to feel better about ourselves. This may be a system which has many benefits as well as costs."
Photo Credit: Kate Geraghty