Our memories influence what we think we’re capable of in the future. Dr. Shaw argues that if we start to question the accuracy of our memories we’re then forced to question the foundation of who we think we are. In this episode that is based on her new book, The Memory Illusion, she shows that not only are we capable of co-opting other people’s memories as our own, but we can also be easily persuaded by the power of suggestion that we’ve committed acts that have never actually occurred. Can the science of memory help us deal with our brains’ tendency to rewrite the past?
Dr. Julia Shaw is a psychological scientist and senior researcher in the Department of Law and Social Science at London South Bank University. Her research on false memory has been published in several international academic journals.
Illustration by Patrick Smith