Unfortunately research shows that our memories are not as stable or as accurate as we think they are. Elizabeth Loftus has been a pioneer in showing how easily memories can be changed or created entirely. The original research paper can be read here. A two part summary of the research is here and here.
Study methodology[ edit ] A lost in the mall experiment is a memory implantation technique used to demonstrate that confabulations about events that never took place, such as having been lost in a shopping mall as a child.
It can be created through suggestions made to experimental subjects. It was first developed by Jim Coan, an undergraduate student of psychologist Elizabeth Loftus at the University of Washington as support for the claim that it is possible to implant entirely false memories in people.
It was developed in the context of a debate about the existence of repressed memories and false memories see False memory syndrome. The professor—Loftus—invited her students to design and execute an experiment implanting false memories in subjects.
Coan enlisted his mother, sister and brother as subjects.
He assembled booklets containing four short narratives describing childhood events, and instructed them to try to remember as much as possible about each of the four events, and to write down those details over the course of six days. Unbeknownst to the participants, one of the narratives was false; it described Coan's brother getting lost in a shopping mall at around the age of 5, then being rescued by an elderly person and reunited with his family.
During the experiment, Coan's brother unwittingly invented several additional details of the false narrative.
At the conclusion of the experiment during a tape-recorded debriefing when told that one of the narratives was false, Coan's brother could not identify which one was false and expressed disbelief when told.
The memory for the false event was usually reported to be less clear than the true events, and people generally used more words to describe the true events than the false events.
At the end of the study when the participants were told that one of the 4 events was false, some people 5 out of 24 failed to identify the lost in the mall event as the false event and instead picked one of the true events to be false.
Loftus calls this study "existence proof" for the phenomenon of false memory creation and suggests that the false memory is formed as a result of the suggested event being lost in a mall being incorporated into already existing memories of going to the mall.
With the passage of time it becomes harder for people to differentiate between what actually happened and what was imagined and they make memory errors.
However some people have argued that this is not generalizable to memories for traumatic events. An article in the journal Child Development by Pezdek and Hodges described an extension of the experiment.
By using the subjects' family members to do the interviewing, their study was able to replicate Loftus' findings that memories of being lost in the mall could be created and were more likely to occur in young children.
However, a much smaller number of children reported false memories of another untrue incident: Loftus made it clear that the Lost in the Mall study and other studies using memory implantation techniques in no way tried to claim that all memories of childhood sexual abuse discovered in therapy are false, they merely try to show how relatively easy it is to manipulate human memory.
Loftus also accused Crook of writing the article as part of a long series of efforts to discredit her integrity as a researcher and her work.We would like to show you a description here but the site won’t allow us.
(b) How ecologically valid is the data in the study by Loftus and Pickrell  (d) One possible threat to the study are extraneous variables.
To what extent did Loftus and Pickrell control the research on false memories . Creating False Memories. Elizabeth F. Loftus. In Nadean Cool, a nurse's aide in Wisconsin, sought therapy from a psychiatrist to help her cope with her reaction to a traumatic event experienced by her daughter.
My research associate, Jacqueline E. Pickrell, and I settled on trying to plant a specific memory of being lost in a shopping. Eyewitness Testimony and Memory Biases By Cara Laney and Elizabeth F.
Reed College, University of California, Irvine. Eyewitnesses can provide very compelling legal testimony, but rather than recording experiences flawlessly, their memories are susceptible to a variety of errors and biases.
(b) How ecologically valid is the data in the study by Loftus and Pickrell  (d) One possible threat to the study are extraneous variables. To what extent did Loftus and . Pickrell and Loftus lined up a group of persons and told them they were going to participate in an advertising evaluation program, one of those group meetings where you're supposed to sit.