Fri 9 Dec, 2011 11:26 pm
I once heard about an experiment in psychology that went something like this. Two groups, A and B, witnessed the same event (let's say a scene from a movie). Afterwards, both groups were given assessments of their memory of the scene, but the members of group A were first asked to describe the scene verbally. Group A's recollection was significantly worse than group B's. I have described this experiment to many people and, consequently, have completely forgotten the details. Does anyone know the name of a similar study? Or did I just make this up?
Try being more specific. What event was being witnessed? Impossible to tell without some more details. That could be any one of 100s of experiments.
I don't think you make it up -- it sounds in line with a lot of the research I've seen re: the fallibility of memory. (Basically, you remember the last time you remembered something, rather than a pure, unsullied memory that sits there in a drawer and you pull it out when you need it.)
So if the verbal summarizers got something wrong, they're more likely to remember their summary (complete with the wrong detail) than the original movie.
I tried searching for that specific study though and wasn't able to come up with anything.
This recent article from the New York Times has a lot of info about memory (and its fallibility):