Dr. Linda A. Henkel
Professor of Psychology
o: Bannow Science Ctr N Rm 465
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
'Truth Effect' explains why misinformation is easily spread
The research helps explain why misinformation is so easily perpetuated on social media sites, despite users' media-savvy or intelligence. "People come to believe certain things are true, even when they don't remember where they read them, even when they read it from an unreliable source, even when they don't remember reading it at all," says Linda Henkel, a professor of psychology at Fairfield University in Connecticut. "Being exposed to things repeatedly makes them become more familiar, which makes them come to mind easily - and that makes us think they're true."
Published in National Post on 11/01/11