People Can Be Convinced They Committed a Crime That Never Happened

Research published in Psychological Science shows that through friendly interviewing techniques, people can develop detailed false memories of committing a crime and even re-enact it. Psychological scientist and lead researcher, Julia Shaw, reveals that all it takes to create a false memory is three hours. The study found that “bad interview techniques” can create false memories through “poor memory-retrieval techniques” importing true details into a false story, increasing familiarity which makes it more plausible to the individual. In the first interviews, the researchers told the participant two events of which only one was real, encouraging participants to continue even when they struggled to explain further.

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