Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Suzanne O. Kaasa & Elizabeth F. Loftus
False memory refers to the phenomenon of “remembering” something that never actually occurred. False memories can be small, such as mistaken details of an event, or they can consist of whole events that never actually happened. People experiencing a false memory generally believe the memory to be true, and often experience sensory detail and emotions, just like with real memories. Memory is not perfect. It does not record like a tape recorder or video camera. Instead, people tend to store bits of information from their experiences. These portions of memory are susceptible to distortion because memory is a reconstructive process. People tend to create memories from the various bits of stored information in their brain each time they remember something. In the process, details are sometimes changed or chunks of new material added. Another reason for imperfect memory is that people tend to store the gist of events in their ...