NSSR Postdoctoral Fellow Steven Frenda’s work on false memory was featured in a New York Times piece exploring the concept of false memory in the wake of the recent controversy surrounding Brian Williams.
The Times writes:
Steven J. Frenda, a postdoctoral research fellow at the New School for Social Research in New York, used a writing exercise to induce a false memory of rescuing a cat from a tree. Students were randomly assigned to different groups and asked to take part in a writing exercise. One group was prompted to make up a story about the cat rescue; the control group was given a mundane topic. Later both groups were asked whether they had ever rescued a cat. The students who had previously written a cat story were twice as likely to claim the event as a real memory as those in the control group.
“Memory is a reconstructive process, and we are drawing on multiple sources of information,” said Dr. Frenda. “A false memory can arise when we mistakenly attribute some other information as a memory. Whether you’ve exaggerated something in the past, or it’s something else you’ve seen or experienced, you can pull that into what you consider to be the truth.”
You can read the entire article on The New York Times website.