Professor Elizabeth Loftus (University of California, Irvine) will present this year’s Annual Jeeves Lecture, entitled ‘The Fiction of Memory’.
For several decades, Professor Elizabeth Loftus’ research group has been busy tampering with people’s memories. Sometimes they change details of events that someone actually experienced. Other times they plant entire memories for events that never happened – “rich false memories”.
Time and again, they have found that people can be led to falsely believe that they had experiences, some of which would have been emotional or traumatic had they actually happened. False memories, like true ones, also have consequences for people, affecting later thoughts, intentions and behaviours.
If false memories can be so readily planted in the mind, do we need to think about “regulating” this mind technology?