Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 597–603

A picture is worth a thousand lies: Using false photographs to create false childhood memories

Authors

  • Kimberley A. Wade
    • School of PsychologyVictoria University of Wellington
    • School of PsychologyVictoria University of Wellington
  • J. Don Read
    • University of Victoria
  • D. Stephen Lindsay
    • University of Victoria
Brief Reports

DOI: 10.3758/BF03196318

Cite this article as:
Wade, K.A., Garry, M., Don Read, J. et al. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (2002) 9: 597. doi:10.3758/BF03196318

Abstract

Because image-enhancing technology is readily available, people are frequently exposed to doctored images. However, in prior research on how adults can be led to report false childhood memories, subjects have typically been exposed to personalized and detailed narratives describing false events. Instead, we exposed 20 subjects to a false childhood event via a fake photograph and imagery instructions. Over three interviews, subjects thought about a photograph showing them on a hot air balloon ride and tried to recall the event by using guided-imagery exercises. Fifty percent of the subjects created complete or partial false memories. The results bear on ways in which false memories can be created and also have practical implications for those involved in clinical and legal settings.

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2002