The fiction of memory and implications for voters and research participants

For several decades, Loftus has studied the malleability of human memory. Across studies, exposure to leading questions, suggestion, imagination and old photos can alter what people remember about the past—changing details and sometimes creating entirely false memories for events that never happened. In this presentation, Loftus reviews these findings and presents emerging research on how push polls—leading questions about political candidates, can alter memory in the minds of voters. Loftus also considers the efficacy of debriefing in false memory studies and possible remnants of suggestion.

Bio: Loftus is Distinguished Professor at the University of California - Irvine. She holds faculty positions in the Department of Psychological Science; the Department of Criminology, Law & Society, and the School of Law. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. Since then, she has published over 20 books and more than 600 scientific articles. Loftus's research has focused on the malleability of human memory. She has been recognized for her research with several honorary doctorates and election to numerous prestigious societies, including the National Academy of Sciences. She is past president of the Association for Psychological Science, the Western Psychological Association, and the American Psychology-Law Society. In a recent profile in Nature, Loftus is described as having "done more than any other researcher to document the unreliability of memory in experimental settings." The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes Loftus' work as having "a profound impact on the field of psychology, on scholars outside the field, and on the administration of justice around the world.