A current and fascinating area of research is that of Elizabeth Loftus. Dr. Loftus believes that memory can be reconstructed and changed based upon outside influences and has studied misinformation effects, eyewitness testimony and memories of abuse.
Read about Dr. Loftus’ research in the textbook and go to You Tube to search for Elizabeth Loftus. www.youtube.com
There are many videos about her and explaining her research. Choose 2 videos ( Please provide links to it)which you find interesting (choose ones that have her actually speaking about her research and not copies of her experiments done by others.)
Dr. Loftus also has her own website.
Answer the following questions in essay form (please answer and number each question separately) –
1. Explain the 2 YouTube videos that you watched about Dr. Loftus.
2. Discuss the Mini Lecture #20 article and video. Watch both parts of the video to answer the questions.
a What occurred to Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton?
b How did the police investigation and procedures allow this injustice to occur?
c How have police procedures changed now?
d What are your thoughts about this story?
3. Discuss 3 facts that you learned about memory from reading Myers’ discussion of Memory in chapter 7 of the textbook. Cite pages of textbook.Question 1
In the first video, Elizabeth Loftus discusses the possibility of implanting a false childhood memory in a person’s mind by merely suggesting that it happened through the use of actual facts and suggestions of possibilities of what would have took place. This was done by getting background information from the subjects’ parents prior to talking to them. A quarter of this population ended up accepting the existence of the memory which was in fact false (Loftus, 2009).
In the second video, Elizabeth Loftus discusses the unreliability of eye witness testimonies. Her hypothesis or argument is that eye witness accounts are actually much more malleable than we think. This is to say that the accuracy of these events is more flexible thus making it unreliable as a source of reference for incidents that individuals have witnessed (Loftus, 2010).
Jennifer Thompson was raped and in a bid to ensure the rapist gets justice insisted that Ronald Cotton was the one. As a result, he got convicted of a crime he did not commit and spent a decade in prison.
Police investigations allowed this injustice to occur because they relied exclusively on the eye witness account rather than other important circumstances.
Police procedures have changed in that there is more reliance on forensic evidence in combination with eye witness accounts.
This story makes me have serious doubts about eye witness testimonies and also it leads me to be sympathetic about the large number of people who have probably been convicted despite their innocence due to reliance on eye witness accounts.
The first fact I have learnt is that that there are three stages of memory formation and these are sensory, short-term and then long-term memory.
The second fact I learnt is that routine events are easy to recall because they have become automatic thus leaving very little need for effort.
The third fact I got was that sleep is indeed good for the brain (Myers, n.d.).
Memory can therefore be summarized as a the sum or recollections that an individual experiences subjectively depending on the context of the actual event as well as the present situation.
Loftus, E (2009) The Power of Suggestion. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il0u2s_WGXA
Loftus, E (2010) Eye Witness Testimony Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP8kJ5A5xU8
Myers, D (n.d.) Psychology in Everyday Life. Second Edition