False Memory

False memory occurs when you remember something that did not actually transpire or something that happened differently. This psychological phenomenon was first looked into by Pierre Janet, a pioneering French psychologist, and Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis.

Elizabeth Loftus, an American cognitive psychologist, is known as the lead researcher on false memory in 1974. Loftus testified in a trial that memories can be altered and that some eyewitnesses may not be that reliable. Some factors that may contribute to recalling something inaccurately include suggestibility and incorporation of associated details. One notable case is that of Maxine Berry who sued her therapists for making her falsely believe that she was abused as a child. Berry’s mother apparently manipulated the therapists to instill such childhood memories.

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