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Dr. Julia Shaw: The Memory Illusion

FMSF News Alert - May 10, 2017

Dear Friends,

In this interview for David McRaney’s "You’re Not So Smart" podcast, researcher Julia Shaw explains how she was able to elicit false memories from her subjects by suggesting that traumatic memories are often forgotten and can be retrieved using simple techniques:

You’re Not So Smart Podcast

"So, we would have the participants in front of us and we would be using these What-NOT-to-do-for-memory-retrieval techniques - but of course they didn’t know that. I even used things like, one of my lines for introducing this memory retrieval technique was "I don’t like to call it ‘repression’ but sometimes we push these memories to the side."

Now ‘repression’ from an empirical stance is a highly questionable thing to begin with. But it’s a term that these students, who are mostly psychology students, have heard before so there’s some credibility associated with "oh yeah, I’ve heard of that". (Min 25:27)

Using this type of suggestion, 71 percent of Dr. Shaw’s subjects developed detailed false memories of having committed the crimes of assault, assault with a weapon, or theft.

Learn more from Dr. Julia Shaw in the Scientific American:

Author Julia Shaw

And from her book:

The Memory Illusion: Why You Might Not Be Who You Think You Are

J. Bean and Pam