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Postevent Misinformation Effect

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When listening to people describe their miraculous or paranormal experiences, remember that people are easily susceptible to a postevent “misinformation effect,” which occurs when outside people, including other witnesses, accidentally interject details into a person’s memory, which then solidify as part of the eyewitness’s storage and recall.

Misinformation can also occur when people mistakenly remember or simply speculate about certain details, which also become part of the memory itself. Particularly when speaking to people about what they saw, witnesses unconsciously invent details to supply hearers with “what must have happened” for things they did not, in reality, observe. These factors are especially problematic for children because they are more susceptible to suggestibility, source confusion errors, and misinformation.

Memory Studies

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