On the persuadability of memory:is changing people's memories no more than changing their minds?


The observation of parallels between the memory distortion and persuasion literatures leads, quite logically, to the appealing notion that people can be 'persuaded' to change their memories. Indeed, numerous studies show that memory can be influenced and distorted by a variety of persuasive tactics, and the theoretical accounts commonly used by researchers to explain episodic and autobiographical memory distortion phenomena can generally predict and explain these persuasion effects. Yet, despite these empirical and theoretical overlaps, explicit reference to persuasion and attitude-change research in the memory distortion literature is surprisingly rare. In this paper, we argue that stronger theoretical foundations are needed to draw the memory distortion and persuasion literatures together in a productive direction. We reason that theoretical approaches to remembering that distinguish (false) beliefs in the occurrence of events from (false) memories of those events - compatible with a source monitoring approach - would be beneficial to this end. Such approaches, we argue, would provide a stronger platform to use persuasion findings to enhance the psychological understanding of memory distortion.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12074
Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Nash, R. A., Wheeler, R. L., & Hope, L. (2015). On the persuadability of memory: is changing people's memories no more than changing their minds?. British journal of psychology, 106(2), 308-326, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12074. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords: attitude change,autobiographical belief,false memory,memory distortion,persuasion,social influence,source monitoring,Psychology(all),Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
Publication ISSN: 2044-8295
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2024 07:16
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2015 12:50
Full Text Link: http://onlineli ... .12074/abstract
Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2015-05
Published Online Date: 2014-06-04
Authors: Nash, Robert A. (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-2284-2001)
Wheeler, Rebecca L.
Hope, Lorraine



Version: Accepted Version

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