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True vs. False Memories: Is There a Definitive Difference?

Lecture given by
Dr Cara Laney
University of Leicester

If there were a way to reliably distinguish between true and false memory reports, eyewitness testimony could be made more trustworthy. Three studies will be discussed. In the first, participants were given false memories for a positive event to see whether these memories, like true memories, might have repercussions. The second study was designed to assess whether demand characteristics could explain the results of false memory studies. In the final study, some participants were given false memories for three different emotional childhood events. Other participants had pre-existing (presumably true) memories for the same three events. The emotionality of the true and false memories was then compared, to see whether emotional content might be a reliable signal of memory accuracy.

Dr Cara Laney is a lecturer of forensic psychology at the University of Leicester. She completed her PhD at the University of California in 2006, working with Elizabeth Loftus. Her main area of research is human memory and the myriad ways it can go wrong. Besides giving participants false memories for a variety of consequential and emotional events, to show that even meaningful and emotional memories can be false memories, she has experimented with the memory altering powers of moral judgments and visual system tricks. She has published more than a dozen journal articles in the field of memory.


Dr Cara Laney | talks | www


Date and Time:

6 October 2009 at 6:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit (APRU)
Department of Psychology, Whitehead Building,
Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross,
SE14 6NW


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Held in Room 256, Richard Hoggart Building.

All talks are open to staff, students and members of the public. Attendance is free and there is no need to book in advance.
For further information, contact Professor Chris French (email: c.french@gold.ac.uk).

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