Julia Shaw on memories that aren't true Feb. 22, 2022

from The Life Scientific· ·

Early in her career, Julia wanted to know if it was possible to get someone to believe they committed a crime (when they hadn’t)? In a bold experiment she showed how students created false memories of criminal events in their teenage years, describing in rich detail how they had assaulted people, when no such events had taken place. What does this mean for a criminal justice system that relies heavily on memory-based evidence? Does it make it more difficult for the victims of crimes to have their voices heard? Victims of sex crimes, in particular. Or can the findings of …



Early in her career, Julia wanted to know if it was possible to get someone to believe they committed a crime (when they hadn’t)? In a bold experiment she showed how students created false memories of criminal events in their teenage years, describing in rich detail how they had assaulted people, when no such events had taken place. What does this mean for a criminal justice system that relies heavily on memory-based evidence? Does it make it more difficult for the victims of crimes to have their voices heard? Victims of sex crimes, in particular. Or can the findings of false memory research be used to prevent miscarriages of justice? Julia talks to Jim Al-Khalili about growing up with her dad’s delusional beliefs and paranoid thoughts and how a profound appreciation that everyone’s reality is different pulled her to the field of false memory research. Producer: Anna Buckley