Student Independent Projects Psychology 2015: The Impact of Photographs/Videos and Narratives on the Creation of False Memories

Pedersen, Louise L. (2015) Student Independent Projects Psychology 2015: The Impact of Photographs/Videos and Narratives on the Creation of False Memories. Research Report. Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland. (Unpublished)

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What a person remembers from a young age is greatly influenced by many factors. Being able to revisit memories through photographs, videos, and narratives is seen to enhance what one remembers, and how much one remembers. However, people do not usually realize that because of this we become more susceptible to the creation of false memories. False memories are memories for events that did not actually occur. Another less obvious but more common type of false memory is a memory for an event that did occur but the memory is not our own. Photographs and videos instill the images in our minds and the narratives that accompany them give an explanation to the event exhibited. False memories are for the most part harmless and by being able to share memories with loved ones they can create a feeling of belongingness. Unfortunately, false memories can also be purposefully instilled in order to create false eyewitness testimonies. Childhood memories are some of the most precious memories a person has. These memories are often of significant events in one’s life; for example: birthdays, holidays, vacations, family excursions, etc. The list goes on and is unique to everyone’s personal experiences. Unfortunately, childhood memories can be easily forgotten as time passes. This is why people feel so compelled to take pictures of special events so that they can keep their memories safe. Many studies such as the fake photo study by Strange, Hayne, & Garry (2008) use interviews to see how much of an event is remembered when looking at a photograph, real or doctored. Repeatedly looking at photos and hearing about the event can easily lead to the creation of a false memory. Along with all of these pictures are narratives. Narratives or stories are usually but not only told by older relatives to revisit these special memories. Family stories used to be the most common way to recall special events and are still very popular today. However, it seems that nowadays taking pictures and recording videos are more and more accessible to everyone. As technology advances, our memory seems to become less important to the recollection of special childhood moments. Most cell phones are able to both take pictures and record videos. With this being said I think it is important to ask the question: do photographs, videos and narratives have an impact on our memory? And more importantly do they create false memories? Each recollection aid (photosgraphs, videos, and narratives) have their own unique impact on the creation of false memories. Through research, I will explore how the both separately and cumulatively impact our memory.

Item Type: Report (Research Report)
Item ID: 11847
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > School of Arts and Social Science > Psychology
Date: 2015
Date Type: Submission

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