Human false memory and its impact in society have been subject to controversy among psychologists, society and even the legal system. The syndrome of false memory has led to controversy among research psychologists. Mostly, controversy results from concepts such as influences of human memory, faultiness of human memory and the implications of the shortcomings of human memory.
Based on Loftus’ article, human memory is subject to fault. This is because it is affected by sensory inputs and cultural beliefs to form complex memories. These memories are subject to changes and are at times not real. Therefore, when memories are introduced during investigations, they give a faulty impression of what could have happened. Even though somebody could be saying the truth, they could be saying the truth about false memories. Therefore, memories can consist of what happened and what did not.
Influences of human memory
Human memory is influenced by internal and external factors. Emotions influence how an individual’s memory functions. Emotionally stable individuals can recall past events clearer compared to the emotionally stable. Emotionally unstable people are affected by the memories are prone to exaggerations. Memory can also be influenced by manipulation. For instance, in Loftus’ article, Jane Doe was manipulated by her father and step mother to falsely accuse her mother of assault. It turned out 11 years later that there could have never happened despite her mother losing the case to have Jane’s custody. Memory can also be influenced by culture. How an individual is brought up, and the environment in which they grow influences their memory.
Eye witness testimony
The testimonies delivered by eye witnesses are affected greatly by human memory’s limitations. This may lead to accused individuals being found guilty when they are actually innocent. An example was Jane Doe’s mother who was believed to have assaulted her. The limitations of human memory may also affect how investigations are conducted. Furthermore, witnesses can be manipulated by other people intentionally to swing the outcome of the case in their favor like Jane Doe’s father.
Therefore, Loftus’ article gives a clear account of how the human memory can be subjected to faults. More so, the human memory can be influenced by emotions, culture and manipulation by other people. These demerits of human memory make eye witnesses give wrong accounts of what could have happened. They could also develop wrong opinions towards innocent people.
Abramsky, S. (2004, August 19). Memory and Manipulation. Retrieved October 6, 2012, from Law Weekly: http://www.laweekly.com/2004-08-19/news/memory-and-manipulation/