The paper will discuss the remarkable research of Elizabeth Loftus, who claimed that when one recalls a memory, the occasion is not absolutely reimagined. Instead, he or she remembers a reconstruction of this occasion. The author also assumes that her findings are evident from criminal investigation cases during which the change of a little detail in a question may lead to a different event recall.
Loftus conducted four experiments in order to provide a significant argumentation and coherent train of thought. The essence of these experiments was to make subjects obtain some video materials and ask them questions on the content at once, and after a certain period. The primary mean by which Loftus developed her theory was to change or add words in the question so that it could create a memory in one’s consciousness. For instance, during experiment 3, Loftus used the word “barn” to confuse the subjects (Loftus, 1975, p. 566). She noticed this object in the questions; however, it was not present in the video. A number of subjects answered that they really had mentioned the barn in the videotape. Hence, such manipulations with questions may lead to significant results.
It might be essential to mention that I applied the above-mentioned findings in my personal life. There was a case when during a conversation with my friend about a party, I used “the” instead of “a” to compel him that there was a certain firework at the end of the event. Thus, I created the vision that the firework took place indeed by using the definite article. It worked – my friend said that he remembered something bright in the night sky and that it was definitely the firework.
To sum everything up, the research of Loftus might be considered convincing and critical. However, a number of ethical concerns could take place during her investigation. The crucial one might be a direct manipulation of the consciousness of a subject. The change that could be made to make this study more ethical may be the awareness of participants about the fact that the scholar manipulated their memory.
Loftus, E. F. (1975). Leading questions and the eyewitness report. Cognitive Psychology, 7(4), 560–572.