Lectures

The Memory Factory

The Memory Factory

Lecture by Elizabeth F. Loftus, Distinguished Professor of Social Ecology and Professor of Law and Cognitive Science at University of California, Irvine

In this lecture, Loftus will explore the tricks that memory can play. For at least a century, scientists have demonstrated that memories are not always as they seem. More recently, they have shown that people can be led to develop entire memories for events that never happened: rich false memories. People have been led to remember nonexistent events from the recent past as well as nonexistent events from their childhood. People can be led to falsely believe that they have had experiences that are rather bizarre or implausible. False memories, like true ones, also have consequences for people, affecting later thoughts, intentions, and behaviors. They can be readily planted in the minds of people who have distinctly superior memories. False memories look very much like true ones:  they can be confidently told, detailed, and expressed with emotion. These findings have implications for the pursuit of justice in legal cases, for the practices of psychotherapists who listen to patients’ memories, and for everyday life.

The event is free and open to the public.