The Science of False Memory / Edition 1

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Findings from research on false memory have major implications for a number of fields central to human welfare, such as medicine and law. Although many important conclusions have been reached after a decade or so of intensive research, the majority of them are not well known outside the immediate field. To make this research accessible to a much wider audience, The Science of False Memory has been written to require little or no background knowledge of the theory and techniques used in memory research.

Brainerd and Reyna introduce the volume by considering the progenitors to the modern science of false memory, and noting the remarkable degree to which core themes of contemporary research were anticipated by historical figure such as Binet, Piaget, and Bartlett. They continue with an account of the varied methods that have been used to study false memory both inside and outside of the laboratory. The first part of the volume focuses on the basic science of false memory, revolving around three topics: old and new theoretical ideas that have been used to explain false memory and make predictions about it; research findings and predictions about false memory in normal adults; and research findings and predictions about age-related changes in false memory between early childhood and adulthood. Throughout Part I, Brainerd and Reyna emphasize how current opponent-processes conceptions of false memory act as a unifying influence by integrating predictions and data across disparate forms of false memory.
The second part focuses on the applied science of false memory, revolving around four topics: the falsifiability of witnesses and suspects memories of crimes, including false confessions by suspects; the falsifiability of eyewitness identifications of suspects; false-memory reports in investigative interviews of child victims and witnesses, particularly in connection with sexual-abuse crimes; false memory in psychotherapy, including recovered memories of childhood abuse, multiple-personality disorders, and recovered memories of previous lives. Although Part II is concerned with applied research, Brainerd and Reyna continue to emphasize the unifying influence of opponent-processes conceptions of false memory. The third part focuses on emerging trends, revolving around three expanding areas of false-memory research: mathematical models, aging effects, and cognitive neuroscience. False Memory will be an invaluable resource for professional researchers, practitioners, and students in the many fields for which false-memory research has implications, including child-protective services, clinical psychology, law, criminal justice, elementary and secondary education, general medicine, journalism, and psychiatry.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The Science of False Memory is at once comprehensive and "deep." Brainerd and Reyna have crafted an account of human memory and its foibles that is ensconced in the history of psychology yet is so thoroughly up to date that it can be used in virtually any memory course at any level. It is slam dunk of a book, and I found myself reading far more of it than I had time to read—all because I found the authors' analysis so compelling and the writing so good." —Stephen J. Ceci, The Helen L. Carr Professor of Developmental Psychology, Cornell University

"As two who have been in the forefront of the science of false memory, Brainerd and Reyna have culled the massive literature, captured the basic theories, and presented the key issues in a masterful fashion. This is the definitive work on false memories . . . everything you might want to know about them and more." —Elizabeth F. Loftus, Distinguished Professor, University of California, Irvine, and author of Eyewitness Testimony

"This book is not written only for psychologists studying memory errors, but for police investigators, for lawyers and judges, and for social workers and psychiatrists, among others. There is no other book that provides so complete an overview of the critical issues surrounding the puzzling tendency people have to remember events differently from the way they originally happened or, in the most dramatic cases, to vividly remember events that never happened at all. I highly recommend it." —Henry L. Roediger, III, James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, Washington University in St Louis

"False memories are a hot topic in psychological research and a major issue for society. The Science of False Memory provides a compelling scholarly analysis that ranges from laboratory studies to cases in the courtroom. Written by two leaders in the field, this book is must reading for memory researchers, psychologists, and anyone else interested in understanding why people sometimes remember events that never happened." —Daniel L. Schacter, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Seven Sins of Memory.

"Brainerd and Reyna offer an authoritative overview of contemporary research on 'errors of commission in memory reports'... The book will interest the authors' fellow memory researchers, but it will also reward anyone curious as to why people often remember events differently from how they actually happened and why some people have vivid memories of events that never happened."—Science

"Brainerd and Reyna (both, human development, Cornell Univ.) offer here a comprehensive scholarly treatment of research in false memory. After an excellent chapter on its history, they summarize nine basic paradigms in false memory research and review the major theories...the volume should be useful not only in the academy but also to those involved with law enforcement and the courts...Highly recommended."—CHOICE

"False memory is a developing field; however, for the time being, this book is definitive, and shows how far the study of false memory has advanced from supposition to science."—Fortean Times

"The Science of False Memory shows all the signs of a work that is likely to be recognized for many years as a classic in the psychology of memory. Brainerd and Reyna have written a work that is simultaneously thorough in its scientific coverage and accessible to the educated layperson. It is breathtaking in its scholarly contribution."—reene

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195154054
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/5/2005
  • Series: Oxford Psychology Series , #38
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 578
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Cornell University

Cornell University

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Table of Contents

Part I. Background
Chapter 1. Your Ancients
Chapter 2. Varieties of False Memory: A Modern Taxonomy
Part II. The Basic Science of False Memory
Chapter 3. Theoretical Explanations of False Memory
Chapter 4. Controlling False Memories with Opponent Processes 1: Laboratory Research with Adults
Chapter 5. Controlling False Memories with Opponent Processes 2: Developmental Research with Children and Adolescents
Part III. The Applied Science of False Memory
Chapter 6. False Memory in Criminal Investigation 1: Adult Interviewing and Eyewitness Identification
Chapter 7. False Memory in Criminal Investigation 2: Child Interviewing and Testimony
Chapter 8. False Memory in Psychotherapy
Part IV. Future Directions
Chapter 9. Some Growing Tips

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