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Group-Think Can Influence Your Memory, Research Shows
Date:6/30/2011

ying the study. "When subjects in the experiment saw that other people had responded in one way, they tended to conform and respond the same way."

No one was immune to suggestions of false memories, Edelson said, although some were better able to stick with reality than others.

The scans showed that the amygdala and hippocampus areas of the brains were more active in those who believed false memories over time. The hippocampus affects memory, Edelson said, while the amygdala "probably plays a critical role because it is perfectly situated . . . to mediate between the brain's emotional-social and memory processing systems."

What does all this mean for daily life?

Edelson said it could play a role in legal cases where eyewitnesses to an event talk to each other about what happened. And it's possible but not proven, he added, that the effects of group-think on the memories of children -- who "are very prone to social influence" -- may be greater than on adults.

More information

For more about memory, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Micah Edelson, graduate student, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel; Henry L. Roediger III, Ph.D., professor of psychology, Washington University in St. Louis; July 1, 2011, Science


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