Sep 302013

Elizabeth Loftus: The fiction of memory

17:36 minutes • Filmed Jun 2013 • Posted Sep 2013 • TEDGlobal 2013

Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus studies memories. More precisely, she studies false memories, when people either remember things that didn’t happen or remember them differently from the way they really were. It’s more common than you might think, and Loftus shares some startling stories and statistics, and raises some important ethical questions we should all remember to consider.


One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back

“Our perceptions are fallible.  We sometimes see what isn’t there.  We are prey to optical illusions. Occasionally we hallucinate.  We are error-prone.”

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RELATED:  Perception,
an illustration of our fallibility and our gullibility. Dan Simons. Basketball.

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