Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Creating False Memories

it is said that the camera never lies, but according to new research published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, the camera not only lies, but those lies can lead to the creation of false memories.

In a study by the university of Pagua it was found that manipulation of the photographs influenced the participants' memories of the events very strongly.If misleading information can so easily distort previously encoded memories about past events, then memories of public events, and attitudes towards them, could be distorted even more drastically if doctored images are presented when the event is taking place (i.e. when memories of the event are being encoded).

The findings have important practical implications. They demonstrate clearly the power that the mass media has over how we perceive and remember public events, and the ease with which misinformation and propaganda can be used to manipulate public opinion. Finally, as the authors note, sophisticated software for altering images - and, therefore, for creating misinformation - is now readily available.

Images can lie, and so can texts. The most false, influential, and vile deception in the modern era is not an image but a text: The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In public commentary today, however, images are routinely blamed for problems endemic to all representation. It's fine to caution against visual manipulation, but don't let the selection and framing of verbal reports off the hook. Indeed, many people today are likely to be more skeptical of images that texts because of the widespread familiarity with Photoshop.

Perhaps the political problem is not how people are deceived, but how they avoid the truth. In the US, whether you look at war, health insurance, whatever, bad things are happening right in front of our faces. The key deficits might be not knowledge but political will, imagination, participation, and leadership.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.