In 1988, Paul Ingram was accused by his daughters of recurring sexual abuse in their childhood. Paul denied any allegations at first but after being interrogated by the police and the therapists he could suddenly remember instances of the abuse. Psychologist Richard Ofshe thought this confession as a result of false memory implantation. He told Paul a made up another allegation by their kids and asked Paul to try and remember as much as he can about that event. At first, Paul couldn’t remember right away but after some time he could remember what happened in detail and gave a written confession and later his children confirmed to Ofshe that event never really happened, Ingram has created an entirely false memory. Ofshe considered this memory implantation evidence of Paul Ingram’s suggestibility and its opinion it questions that carry accuracy of Ingram’s other confessions
The above-given case is a perfect example of False memory Implantation or Reconstructive memory and that makes memory vulnerable One of the famous experiment of reconstructive memory was carried on by Elizabeth Lofte. The Experiment had participants of 45 people in a laboratory and each participant was to watch a film of a traffic accident for 5-30 seconds after that the participants were to describe what they have witnessed. The participants were asked a series of questions with careful wording. The main question was “how fast was the car going when it _______ against each other?” The careful words was Collided, Smashed, Bumped, hit and contacted. The claim is to see that if change in verb has an effect on the participants’ answer on the question. The participants who were asked the question with the word “smashed” or “collided” answered the car went against each other at a high speed, the participants who were asked the question with the word “hit” or “contacted ” answered that the speed was the car did not go at a high speed.
This experiment showed that memory can be played with if persuaded properly with just words. We take knowledge we have, we make assumptions we have about how things work and take actual data we retrieved and We pull all those together and we have a nice replay of memory, but the problem with human memory is we have trouble distinguishing between actual memory and the assumptions we have , it seems concrete to us but most of our memory we have is mostly assumptions overlayed on. Sadly Paul Ingrim was a victim of that and he himself confirmed those allegations. That’s one of the reasons there is a person present in the court to check if the lawyer is trying to carefully word his sentences the witness because the trail may depend on the witness testimony and that cannot be controlled by the lawyer
There are many Paul Ingrims in the world believing something they never did.