Sharing memories can contaminate our recollections
Sydney: Why do people seem unable to distinguish between genuine and false memories?
One reason is that sharing memories can contaminate people`s recollections and create false memories, said Helen Paterson, University of Sydney School of Psychology.
"A false memory is the recollection of an event, or details of an event, that did not actually occur," she said, according to Sydney School release.
"My research focuses on how people can contaminate each other`s memories for an event by discussing it with one another."
Paterson said a key finding of the research was that misleading information presented through discussion with another person who observed the event can also lead to memory distortion.
"That is, witnesses who discuss an event with a co-witness are very likely to incorporate misinformation presented by the co-witness into their own memory for the event," she said.
"Furthermore, our research has shown that memory contamination persists even when people are warned that they have been exposed to misinformation by their co-witness," she said.