Pluto Behaving Badly: False Beliefs and Their Consequences

American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 121, No. 4, pp. 643-660, Winter 2008

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2009-36

19 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2009 Last revised: 7 Aug 2010

See all articles by Shari R. Berkowitz

Shari R. Berkowitz

University of California, Irvine

Cara Laney

Reed College, Psychology

Erin K. Morris

University of California, Irvine

Maryanne Garry

Victoria University of Wellington, School of Psychology

Elizabeth F. Loftus

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

Abstract

We exposed college students to suggestive materials in order to lead them to believe that, as children, they had a negative experience at Disneyland involving the Pluto character. A sizable minority of subjects developed a false belief or memory that Pluto had uncomfortably licked their ear. Suggestions about a positive experience with Pluto led to even greater acceptance of a lovable ear-licking episode. False beliefs and memories had repercussions; those seduced by the bad suggestions were not willing to pay as much for a Pluto souvenir. These findings are among the first to demonstrate that false beliefs can have repercussions for people, meaning that they can influence their later thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.

Suggested Citation

Berkowitz, Shari R. and Laney, Cara and Morris, Erin K. and Garry, Maryanne and Loftus, Elizabeth F., Pluto Behaving Badly: False Beliefs and Their Consequences. American Journal of Psychology, Vol. 121, No. 4, pp. 643-660, Winter 2008; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2009-36. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1495375

Shari R. Berkowitz

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

Cara Laney

Reed College, Psychology ( email )

3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Portland, OR 97202
United States
503/517-7489 (Phone)

Erin K. Morris

University of California, Irvine

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

Maryanne Garry

Victoria University of Wellington, School of Psychology ( email )

Room 508, Easterfield Building
Kelburn Pde, Kelbun Campus
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand
04 463 5769 (Phone)
04 463 5402 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.victoria.ac.nz/psyc/staff/maryanne-garry.aspx

Elizabeth F. Loftus (Contact Author)

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

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

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