When New York residents hear or read about certain cases where individuals either plead guilty or are convicted of a crime, they may believe that the accused person actually did commit the crime. However, it was reported on Jan. 15 that research indicates that some adults can be convinced that they committed the crime even though they were completely innocent.
The researchers involved in the study used university students in Canada as their subjects. The students' caregivers provided the researchers with a list of events that the students experienced between the ages of 11 and 14. Sixty of the students who had not been involved in any of the crimes were picked to be targets for the false memory experiment. They were then subjected to three 40-minute interviews that were held one week apart from each other. In each case, the students were told about a number of events that occurred in their childhood, though all but one of the events never actually occurred.