Observing Actions May Create False Memories
Youâ€™re telling an old friend about the embarrassing time you tripped in front of your crush in high school when she reminds you that was actually her.
Your brother swears you had a creepy misadventure on the 1971 family trip to Hawaii -- until you point out that was an episode of the Brady Bunch.
Researchers already knew that imagining an event may later on result in â€œrememberingâ€ it. But now they have found that incidents like these can be explained by another phenomena in which false memories are created simply be seeing someone else do something.
The results of an experiment recently published in the journal Psychological Science illustrate just how easily this can occur.
In each experiment, participants performed several simple actions. Then they watched videos of someone else doing simple actionsâ€”some of which they had already performed, and some of which they had not. Two weeks later, they were asked which actions they had done. They were much more likely to falsely remember doing an action if they had watched someone else do it. This happened even when participants were told about the effect and warned that it could happen to them.
Researchers speculate that this may be a side effect of the mirror neuron system which helps us understand the actions of others and learn new skills from them.
Posted by FindCounseling.com Staff on September 17, 2010 at 03:10 AM | Permalink
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