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[escepticos] falsa memoria


En otro foro me tropecé con esto y me pareció interesante mandarlo. Está
en inglés, eso si.

Source: University Of Washington (< http://www.washington.edu/ >)

Date: Posted 6/12/2001  

"I Tawt I Taw" A Bunny Wabbit At Disneyland: New Evidence Shows False 
Memories Can Be Created

About one-third of the people who were exposed to a fake print 
advertisement that described a visit to Disneyland and how they met and 
shook hands with Bugs Bunny later said they remembered or knew the 
event happened to them.  

The scenario described in the ad never occurred because Bugs Bunny is a 
Warner Bros. cartoon character and wouldn't be featured in any Walt 
Disney Co. property, according to University of Washington memory 
researchers Jacquie Pickrell and Elizabeth Loftus. Pickrell will make
presentations on the topic at the annual meeting of the American 
Psychological Society (APS) on Sunday (June 17) in Toronto and at a 
satellite session of the Society for Applied Research in Memory and 
Cognition in Kingston, Ontario, on Wednesday.  

"The frightening thing about this study is that it suggests how easily a
memory can be created," said Pickrell, UW psychology doctoral student.  

"It's not only people who go to a therapist who might implant a false 
memory or those who witness an accident and whose memory can be 
distorted who can have a false memory. Memory is very vulnerable and 
malleable. People are not always aware of the choices they make. This 
study shows the power of subtle association changes on memory."  

The research is a follow-up to an unpublished study by Loftus, a UW 
psychology professor who is being honored by the APS this week with its 
William James Fellow Award for psychological research; Kathryn Braun, a 
visiting scholar at the Harvard Business School; and Rhiannon Ellis, a 
former UW undergraduate who is now a doctoral student at the University 
of Pittsburgh. In the original study, 16 percent of the people exposed
to a 
Disneyland ad featuring Bugs Bunny later thought they had seen and met 
the cartoon rabbit.  

In the new research, Pickrell and Loftus divided 120 subjects into four 
groups. The subjects were told they were going to evaluate advertising 
copy, fill out several questionnaires and answer questions about a trip

The first group read a generic Disneyland ad that mentioned no cartoon 
characters. The second group read the same copy and was exposed to a 
4-foot-tall cardboard figure of Bugs Bunny that was casually placed in
interview room. No mention was made of Bugs Bunny. The third, or Bugs 
group, read the fake Disneyland ad featuring Bugs Bunny. The fourth, or 
double, exposure group read the fake add and also saw the cardboard 

This time 30 percent of the people in the Bugs group later said they 
remembered or knew they had met Bugs Bunny when they visited 
Disneyland and 40 percent of the people in the double exposure group 
reported the same thing.  

"'Remember' means the people actually recall meeting and shaking hands 
with Bugs," explained Pickrell. "'Knowing' is they have no real memory,
are sure that it happened, just as they have no memory of having their 
umbilical cord being cut when they were born but know it happened.  

"Creating a false memory is a process. Someone saying, 'I know it could 
have happened,' is taking the first step of actually creating a memory.
If you 
clearly believe you walked up to Bugs Bunny, you have a memory."  

In addition, Pickrell said there is the issue of the consequence of
memories or the ripple effects. People in the experiment who were 
exposed to the false advertising were more likely to relate Bugs Bunny
other things at Disneyland not suggested in the ad, such as seeing Bugs 
and Mickey Mouse together or seeing Bugs in the Main Street Electrical 

"We are interested in how people create their autobiographical
or memory. Through this process they might be altering their own 
memories," she said. "Nostalgic advertising works in a similar manner. 
Hallmark, McDonald's and Disney have very effective nostalgic
that can change people's buying habits. You may not have had a great 
experience the last time you visited Disneyland or McDonald's, but the
may be inadvertently be creating the impression that they had a
time and leaving viewers with that memory. If ads can get people to
they had an experience they never had, that is pretty powerful.  

"The bottom line of our study is that the phony ad is making the
Just casually reading a Bugs Bunny cartoon or some other incidental 
exposure doesn't mean you believe you met Bugs. The ad does."  
Deseo proponer a la favorable consideración del lector una doctrina que,
me temo, podrá parecer desatinadamente paradójica y subversiva. La
doctrina en cuestión es la siguiente: no es deseable creer una
proposición cuando no existe fundamento para suponer que sea cierta.

Bertrand Rusell