The Fiction of Memory: Public Lecture by Professor Elizabeth Loftus

3 January 2016 - 6:00pm – 4 January 2016 - 5:45pm  |  Eastern Avenue Auditorium, Eastern Avenue, The University of Sydney

About the speaker:
Elizabeth Loftus is Distinguished Professor at the University of California - Irvine. She has published 23 books and over 500 scientific articles on the malleability of human memory. She has been recognized for her research with seven honorary doctorates and election to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences. Her expertise in memory has profound implications for the legal system and consequently she has been an expert witness or consultant in hundreds of court cases.

In this free public lecture, Professor Loftus will talk about the Fiction of Memory.

For several decades, I have been manufacturing memories in unsuspecting minds. Sometimes this involves changing details of events that someone actually experienced. Other times it involves planting entire memories for events that never happened – ‘rich false memories’. People can be led to believe that they did things that would have been rather implausible. They can also be led to falsely believe that they had experiences that would have been emotional or traumatic had they actually happened.

False memories, like true ones, have consequences for people, affecting later thoughts, intentions, and behaviours. Can we tell true memories from false ones?

In several studies, I created false memories in the minds of people, and then compared them to true memories. Once planted, the false memories look very much like true memories – in terms of behavioural characteristics, emotionality and neural signatures. If false memories can be so readily planted in the mind, do we need to think about ‘regulating’ this mind technology? And what do these pseudomemories say about the nature of memory itself?

This lecture is sponsored by UNSW School of Psychology, The Psychology Foundation of Australia and School of Psychology, Sydney, and is in association with the conference of the Society for Applied research in Memory and Cognition (SARMAC).

Registration essential:
This free public lecture on Tuesday 3 January: 6.00pm - 7.30pm is open to all, but registration is essential.
Please follow the link below to register.