Memory distortion by suggestion

Our memory of events we witnessed is highly flexible, as suggested by a study by Loftus and Palmer (1974). Here, they showed films of cars colliding and provided a questionnaire about the event afterwards, where they controlled the wording of the questions. When asked about at what speed the cars "contacted" or "bumped", participants reported lower speeds as opposed to when the question contained the words "collided" or "smashed". The phrasing also led to the recall of factual errors: Even though there was no broken glass in the video, a significantly higher percentage of participants reported seeing broken glass if their question contained "smashed".

People can also provide their own misinformation (mentioned in Book - Make it stick.. the science of successful learningBook - Make it stick.. the science of successful learning


author: Peter C. Brown
title: Make it stick: the science of successful learning

): When people are letting their minds roam freely while helf-guessing the details of a certain event, they may later retrieve these guesses as memories (this effect seems to be strong with hypnosis interviews, maybe look into it).