Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2310671
 
 

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Misinformation Can Influence Memory for Recently Experienced, Highly Stressful Events


Charles A. Morgan III


Yale University - Department of Psychiatry

Steven Southwick


Yale University - Department of Psychiatry

George Steffian


Government of the United States of America - Navy

Gary Hazlett


Woodard-Cody Specialty Consulting, Inc.

Elizabeth F. Loftus


University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior; University of California, Irvine School of Law

August 15, 2013

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Vol. 36, 2013, pp. 11-17
UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-132

Abstract:     
A large body of research has demonstrated that exposure to misinformation can lead to distortions in human memory for genuinely experienced objects or people. The current study examined whether misinformation could affect memory for a recently experienced, personally relevant, highly stressful event. In the present study we assessed the impact of misinformation on memory in over 800 military personnel confined in the stressful, mock POW camp phase of Survival School training. Misinformation introduced after the negatively affected memory for the details of the event (such as the presence of glasses or weapons), and also affected the accuracy of identification of an aggressive interrogator. In some conditions more than half of the subjects exposed to a misleading photograph falsely identified a different individual as their interrogator after the interrogation was over. These findings demonstrate that memories for stressful events are highly vulnerable to modification by exposure to misinformation, even in individuals whose level of training and experience might be thought to render them relatively immune to such influences.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 8

Keywords: False memory, Military, Cognition, Survival School, Eyewitness recall, Interrogation

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Date posted: August 18, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Morgan, Charles A. and Southwick, Steven and Steffian, George and Hazlett, Gary and Loftus, Elizabeth F., Misinformation Can Influence Memory for Recently Experienced, Highly Stressful Events (August 15, 2013). International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, Vol. 36, 2013, pp. 11-17; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-132. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2310671

Contact Information

Charles A. Morgan III (Contact Author)
Yale University - Department of Psychiatry ( email )
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
Steven Southwick
Yale University - Department of Psychiatry ( email )
New Haven, CT 06520
United States
George Steffian
Government of the United States of America - Navy
Washington, DC
United States
Gary Hazlett
Woodard-Cody Specialty Consulting, Inc.
107 Covington Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-6847
United States
Elizabeth F. Loftus
University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior ( email )
4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
United States
University of California, Irvine School of Law
535A Administration
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States
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References:  20
Citations:  1

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