False Memories: Hard-boiled Eggs and Police Brutality. Tyler Davis Darrell Worthy Anushka Pai Cindy Stappenbeck. Make-Believe Memories. The Misinformation Effect . Memory can be skewed by giving misinformation Ex. stop/yield sign in a simulated traffic accident
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False Memories:Hard-boiled Eggs and Police Brutality Tyler Davis Darrell Worthy Anushka Pai Cindy Stappenbeck
The Misinformation Effect • Memory can be skewed by giving misinformation • Ex. stop/yield sign in a simulated traffic accident • Situations in which misinformation can occur: • Listen to others give their versions of events • Interrogations • Biased Media Coverage
The Misinformation Effect • Depends on: • Active/passive role • Opportunity to observe • Degree of emotional arousal • Can you think of a time when you may have been influenced by misinformation?
Lost in the Mall • A.K.A. the Familial Informant False-Narrative Procedure • Rates for partially or wholly planting a memory of events that did not happen vary from 25%-50% • Rich false memories – experiences about which a person feels confident in, provides details, and even expresses emotions about made-up events that never happened.
False Memories • Imagining events can lead to believing you performed the events when asked later. • How might this be explained? • Real memories have consequences • Do false memories similarly have consequences for the individual? • Hard-boiled eggs/dill pickles experiment • Alan Alda even experienced consequences to believing hard-boiled eggs made him sick
True or False? • Difficult to distinguish between the two • Real memories tend to be held with more confidence • More research is needed • How do we tell the difference between a deliberate lie and an “honest” lie?
Take-home Message • Suggestions can lead to false memories • A memory reported with confidence, details, and emotion does not mean that it actually happened
Failures in Source Monitoring Dreams TV Film Memory Situations Imagination People
Metamemory • Why would it be in memory if it never happened? • If details are vivid, then it must be true. • Human memory is like a camera. • Childhood memories are not often not remembered. • Traumatic memories are often too emotional to be remembered.
Schematic Reconstruction • Existing schemata help activation. • Schemata do not have to come from personal experience. • Schemata related to plausibility of event. Plausibility related to acceptance.
Real vs. Imagined • We currently have no way to distinguish. • Ceci et al., 1994 • Heaps and Nash, 2001 • With rehearsal the differences between false and true memories become smaller.
Social Demands • Authority Figures • Majority beliefs • Encouraging you to remember
Discussion Questions • People, especially children are suggestible. How can we ask children about things that have happened without increasing chances of creating false memories? • Could we implant an emotional memory in adults for an event that occurred in adulthood? • Why might memory reconstruction be a good thing?
Leo (2001) False Confessions • Judges and juries put a lot of weight on confessions. Even though research suggests a fair number of confessions may be false. • Has psychological science shown that the jury system is outdated? Are the most convincing evidence to jurors (confessions and eye witness testimony) the least sound?
Third degree/ myths • Cops used to like to torture it out of them • Bush says, “This leads to false confessions in Americans, but not terrorists.” • Now they use more psychological techniques • Not as intuitive as to why someone would confess
How they break you…and make you falsely confess • Shift you from confident to hopeless • Only way to improve your situation is to confess • Low-end, High-end, and systemic inducements • Has this tactic ever been used on you by anyone? How well do you think it would work? What variables do you think might affect it?
Types of Confessions • Voluntary • Stress Induced Compliance • Coerced Compliant • Coerced Persuaded • Non-Coerced Persuaded
The consequences • Social Psychology suggests that the publicity behind false confessions now is just the tip of the iceberg • Juries find it convincing • Police stop investigation • The belief (and the problem)-”Innocent People Don’t Confess!”
How do we fix it? • Improved Police Training • Kill the myths • Mandatory video taping • Expert witness testimony • How else might the system be improved? • Should police interrogators have to take a cognitive psychology class?
Gordon Bower, the ACLU, and the Hot Dog Vendors say: • DON’T GIVE UP YOUR MIRANDA RIGHTS!!! • How do you think you could help yourself remember to never talk to police even if you think you are obviously innocent?
Laboratory Paradigms for Studying False Confessions Kassin and Kiechel (1996) Russano, Meissner, Narchet and Kassin (2005)
Kassin and Kiechel (1996) • Divided into four groups: 2 (witness vs. no witness) X 2 (Fast paced vs. slow paced) • Reaction time task • Confederate read letters to be typed at either fast or slow pace • Subjects instructed not to hit the ALT key because experiment would crash • The computer appeared to crash after 60 seconds • Distressed experimenter entered and asked subject if they pressed the ALT key
Kassin and Kiechel (1996) • In the witness group the confederate admitted to have seen subject hit the ALT key • Subjects in the fast paced group were considered to be more vulnerable because of lower subjective certainty
Kassin and Kiechel (1996) • Compliance: subjects asked to sign a “confession” • Internalization: second confederate asked what happened while experimenter left the room (i.e. “I did it, I’m guilty”) • Confabulation: Experimenter reread the list of letters and asked subjects to reconstruct how they hit the ALT key
Kassin and Kiechel (1996) • Results…
Russano et al. (2005) • 330 participants divided into 8 cells 2 (innocent vs. guilty) X 2 (minimization vs. no minimization) X 2 (deal vs. no deal) • Partnered with a female confederate • Recruited for individual vs. team decision making • Solved a series of logic problems • Some problems alone, some as a team
Russano et al. (2005) • In the guilty condition confederate asked subject for the answer to a problem that was to be solved individually • Answer was usually provided (those who didn’t were excluded) • The confederate did not ask for the answer in the innocent condition
Russano et al. (2005) • Experimenter returned and said there was a problem and he needed to speak to each of them individually • Confederate was led out and supposedly questioned for five minutes • Experimenter returned and said that they had the same wrong answer on the target problem
Russano et al. (2005) • The professor may have to be notified and he might consider it cheating • Subjects might be disciplined under campus cheating policies • Subjects were asked to sign a statement admitting to sharing answers
Russano et al. (2005) • Minimization: experimenter/interrogator lessened the seriousness of the offense • Expressed sympathy and concern, provided face-saving excuses
Russano et al. • Deal: If subjects signed then things would be settled quickly; would return later to complete the experiment • If not the professor would have to get involved • Professor’s involvement was implied to be bad • No deal: experimenter would still call the professor to see what to do next
Russano et al. (2005) • Results… • Diagnosticity: ratio of true confessions to false confessions
Discussion Questions • Which paradigm is most similar to police interrogations? • Is the higher rate of true confessions worth the higher rate of false confessions? • What tactics are appropriate for police to use?