Memory--True or False? Processing and Structure in False Memory

Lillian Park :

Mentor: John F. Kihlstrom, Professor of Psychology

Lillian will be researching the phenomenon of false recall, in which a person confidently remembers something that did not occur. False memory has been a vexing problem in psychological theory and its clinical and forensic applications. A new paradigm suggests that people spontaneously generate associatively or thematically related material while they encode memories, and later confuse these self-generated items with what actually happened. For her Senior Honors Thesis in Psychology, Lillian proposes to advance the state of knowledge in the field by studying this spontaneous associative process in the laboratory, using human subjects. Her experiments will help her to synthesize several differing explanations for the phenomenon of false recall and to produce a concrete model of the cognitive processes involved. Her research into the way memory operates will have implications in many areas including eye-witness testimony.