Memory distortion has become a hot topic this week in the wake of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williamsâ€™s admission of falsely recounting one of his experiences during coverage of the Iraq War.
For years, Williams talked about riding in a helicopter that was ultimatelyÂ forced down after taking fire during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. But this week he publicly apologized and admitted that he had been mistakenÂ after reports surfaced that he was not in that particular aircraft, but in a following helicopter.
Williams said he made a mistake in recalling the incident, having conflated video he had seen with his own experience. Â He described the error as resulting from the “fog of memory over 12 years” and this explanationÂ has fueled interviews in many high-profile outletsÂ with psychological scientists who are memory experts.
Psychological science continues…
After a head injury sustained in a plane crash, CIA assassin Jason Bourne wakes up floating in the Mediterranean Sea with two bullets in his back, a Swiss bank account code implanted in his hip, and no memory of who is or how he ended up in the open ocean. Bourne is afflicted with no memory whatsoever of his identity or life before the accident.
Even with the severe retrograde amnesia Bourne experiences in the movie The Bourne Identity, itâ€™s dubious that he would also lose all sense of his identity. In fact, complete memory loss after a head injury â€” often reversed after another blow to the head â€” is a common but rather preposterous representation of brain damage or amnesia.
Neurological disorders have provided inspiration for countless Hollywood blockbusters and independent films, but those maladies are often loaded with scientific…
He created an “atlas of emotions” with more than 10,000 facial expressions. His research on identifying deception and hidden demeanor is used to train law enforcement and security personnel around the world. He was even the inspiration for a television drama series. APS William James Fellow Paul Ekman reflects on his storied career in an interview for the Inside the Psychologistâ€™s Studio video series. The interview, filmed before a live audience last May at the 2014 APS Annual Convention in San Francisco, was conducted by APS Past President Robert Levenson. InÂ the conversation, Ekman talks about:
- his emotion expression research that began with an isolated tribe in Papua New Guinea;
- the training tools he developed to help people understand microexpressions,
- his friendship with the Dalai Lama, and
- his disappointments over the way his science was represented in â€śLie to Me,â€ť a TV series based on his…
In a recent article in The New York Times Sunday Review, US Marine Corps Veteran David J. Morris chronicled his experience getting treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder at a Veterans Affairs hospital. In his essay, he detailed his adverse reactions to Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy, one of the only PTSD treatments to have wide-reaching empirical support.
In PE therapy, individuals are asked to approach â€” in both imaginary and real-life settings â€” situations, places, and people they have been avoiding. The repeated exposure to the perceived threat disconfirms individualsâ€™ expectations of experiencing harm and over time leads to a reduction in their fear. The APS journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest last year provided a comprehensive report on PE and other evidence-based treatments.
In a brief online interview,…
Using brain imaging to examine neural activity associated with our ability to distinguish the self from others may offer scientists a relatively accurate tool to identify children with autism spectrum disorder.
Although further research and evaluation will be needed before the imaging strategy can be used as a standard part of clinical assessment, preliminary findings published in Clinical Psychological Science indicate that it has diagnostic potential.
â€śOur brains have a perspective-tracking response that monitors, for example, whether itâ€™s your turn or my turn,â€ť lead researcher Read Montague, professor at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, said in a statement.Â â€śThis response is removed from our emotional input, so it makes a great quantitative marker.” he said. “We can use it to measure differences between people with and without autism…