[Paleopsych] BH: False Memory Creation Recorded

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Wed Feb 2 21:43:36 UTC 2005

False Memory Creation Recorded

Brain imaging reveals biology of faulty eyewitness accounts

    Betterhumans Staff
    2/1/2005 1:11 PM

    Brain imaging has provided insight into faulty eyewitness accounts.

    Research has shown that people's memories of complex events can be
    altered by misleading information provided after the event has

    Using noninvasive brain imaging methods, Yoko Akado and [8]Craig Stark
    of [9]Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland have now looked
    deeper into this process by examining how the brain encodes
    misinformation when creating a false memory.

    Misleading slide show

    For the study, participants were first shown a slide show of a man
    stealing a woman's wallet and then hiding behind a door.

    They were then shown a slightly different slide show and told it was
    the same sequence.

    Two days later, participants took a memory test in which they were
    asked to recall details of the slide show and which of the two
    presentations contained the information.

    Predicting misinformation

    Stark and Akado found that participants' brain activity predicted
    whether their memories would be accurate or false.

    For memories falsely associated with the first slide show when viewing
    the second, the researchers found that there was weaker activity in
    particular brain areas such as the prefrontal cortex.

    The researchers suggest that activity in the prefrontal cortex is
    linked with encoding memory context.

    Weak activity during the misinformation phase therefore suggests that
    the details of the second experience were poorly placed in context and
    as a result more easily confused.

    The research is reported in the journal [10]Learning & Memory.


    8. http://neuroscience.jhu.edu/peopledetail.asp?ID=320
    9. http://www.jhu.edu/
   10. http://www.learnmem.org/

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