Dr. Elizabeth Loftus is world renowned for her work in the field of eyewitness testimony. Before her work in the 70’s, eyewitness testimony was considered rock solid. Her experiments proved that not only does memory NOT work like a tape recorder, it is in fact routinely altered before, during, and after an event! In her words, it is like a Wikipedia page: You can edit it, but so can other people. This was paradigm shifting, not only for court cases, but for people in general. What are we to do if we can’t really trust our own memories?
We discuss this, as well as My Cousin Vinny, Adnan Syed, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Deep Fakes, and Photographic Memory.
*BONUS* – Implanting False Memories
Most of us believe what our memory says. If we remember being lost in a mall as a kid, then we probably were. The details may not be exactly how we remember them, but the broad strokes are there. Or at least that is what we believe. The truth is memories can be implanted pretty easily in our brains. IN one of her experiments, Dr. Loftus successfully convinced people they had been lost in a shopping mall as a child, when in fact, they had not. The most remarkable thing to me is just how easy it is to implant memories, and how often it happens.
In this bonus episode, Dr. Loftus and I discuss these memory experiments, as well as UFO’s and the Brandon Dassey case.