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Why We Forget

Science shows our memory can easily be distorted and erased – but our forgetfulness also helps us survive… A study conducted by Linda Henkel in the Department of Psychology at Fairfield University tested whether showing people photos of completed actions – such as a broken pencil or an opened envelope – could influence them to believe they’d done something they had not, particularly if they were shown the photos multiple times. Participants were presented with a series of objects on a table, and for each object were asked to either perform an action or imagine performing an action (e.g., “crack the walnut”).

Published on Salon.com on 11/21/11

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