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Remembering a murder you didn't commit. Meet the psychologists who say it's possible




False memories are real. I mean, they are not real, they are false, but people can totally have them.  False memories are often induced by psychologists or therapists who are ‘trying to help’  They may introduce an idea to their patient, not realising the consequences of the false memory.  A psychologist may ask an innocent question about abuse and the patient may suddenly remember being abuse by a family member.  This memory may well be false, i.e, a false memory.

An adult may suddenly remember being ‘lost by a mother’ in a shopping mall. It may have never happened of course. The therapist can ‘plant’ the idea.  In the same way, false memories can be planted by police or special investigators.  There is an astonishing story of people who have admitted to murders. They are convinced they have committed 



Research has been done to show just how easy it can be to implant false memories.  Part of the method is to create confusion and doubt with the person.  Part is to give false details to the person, and to keep repeating them.  Part is to find a vulnerable person who may be ‘open’ to the false memory, and part of it may be luck.  If you find someone who believes they are bad, and you tell them often enough that they committed a murder, they may start believing it.

So what constitutes a false memory?  Someone can tell you that you ‘must have forgotten’ what happened.  They can tell you, and keep telling you, it definitely happened.  They can give you false facts which you start to believe.  And they can ask you ‘what happened’ but keep telling you ‘what happened’ until you believe it.


Do you have false memories? It is unlikely unless you are in trouble, vulnerable or being manipulated.  But think about it. Is everything  you remember real?


Remembering a murder you didn't commit. Meet the psychologists who say it's possible Remembering a murder you didn't commit. Meet the psychologists who say it's possible Reviewed by Tim on May 28, 2018 Rating: 5

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