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A. An Expert Discusses False Memory Research

Narrator: This is Science Today. As many of us may have experienced, our memories are highly susceptible to distortion and suggestion. Elizabeth Loftus, a pioneer in false memory research and a psychologist at the University of California , Irvine has proven this to be the case.

Loftus: It turns out that we actually sometimes believe that thing happen to us or even have memories for things that never happened. And in the work that I do, I actually deliberately try to plant false beliefs for false memories into the minds of people so I can watch this process happen. So, we have gotten people to believe that they were lost in a shopping mall for an extended time, that they were frightened and crying and had to be rescued and reunited with the family. We've gotten people to believe that they broke a window and cut their hand; or that they met and shook hands with Bugs Bunny at Disneyland . All of these are things that didn't happen, and yet we can get people to remember that they did.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin .