Remember that wonderful day when Bugs Bunny hugged you
at Disneyland? A new study shows just how easy it can be to induce false memories
in the minds of some people.
More than a third of subjects in the study, presented
Sunday, recalled that theme-park moment impossible because Bugs is not a Disney
character after a researcher planted the false memory.
Other research, of people who believed they were abducted
by space aliens, shows that even false memories can be as intensely felt as
those of real-life victims of war and other violence.
The research demonstrates that police interrogators and
people investigating sexual-abuse allegations must be careful not to plant suggestions
into their subjects, said University of California-Irvine psychologist Elizabeth
Loftus. She presented preliminary results of recent false memory experiments
Sunday at the national meeting of the American Association for the Advancement