The last decade has seen a flurry of experimental research into the neurocognitive underpinnings of illusory memories. Using simple materials and tests (e.g., recalling words or pictures), methods such as the famed Deese-Roediger-McDermott (DRM) task have attracted considerable attention. These tasks elicit false memories of nonstudied events that are vivid, long lasting, and difficult to consciously avoid. Additional research shows that these memory illusions are fundamentally related to more complex memory distortions. As a result, this rapidly expanding literature has generated a great deal of excitement - and even some controversy - in contemporary psychology.
Associative Illusions of Memory provides an ambitious overview of this research area. Starting with the historical roots and major theoretical trends, this book exhaustively reviews the most recent studies by cognitive psychologists, neuropsychologists, and cognitive neuroscientists. The strengths and limits of various experimental techniques are outlined, and the large body of existing data is meaningfully distilled into a few core theoretical concepts.
This book highlights the malleability of memory, as well as the strategies and situations that can help us avoid false memories. Throughout the review, it is argued that these basic memory illusions contribute to a deeper understanding of how human memory works.
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David Gallo is an Assistant Professort of Psychology at Chicago University. He previously was an NIH postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University and he received his PhD in Experimental Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, where he was awarded a graduate research scholarship from the American Psychological FoundationReview:
“In Associative Illusions of Memory, David Gallo brings together a huge literature showing people misremembering events that are related to real events. The key memory distortion paradigm has been used with young and old, smart and not-so-smart, drunk and sober. We’ve learned a stunning amount about illusory recollection from this body of work, all meticulously and thoughtfully reviewed in one place. A bravura contribution to the memory field.” ― Elizabeth Loftus, Distinguished Professor at University of California, Irvine, and author of Eyewitness Testimony
“Research on memory illusions has exploded during the past decade, and the field badly needs an integrative treatment of the topic. David Gallo has filled that need with this scholarly, well written, and timely volume. Rich in analysis and insight, this important book is required reading for anyone involved in research on memory or memory illusions.” ― Daniel L. Schacter, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Seven Sins of Memory
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