Members in the Media
From: The Washington Post

The psychology of why people like Steve Rannazzisi lie about having survived 9/11

The Washington Post:

Steve Rannazzisi didn’t sound like someone putting on a show.

“I was sort of the party starter of Merrill Lynch,” he said in an interview in 2009. “Until our building got hit with a plane.”

“Oh, Christ,” his interviewer, the podcast host Marc Maron, interjected.

“Yeah. And then the party ended right there.”

Without tears or theatrics, Rannazzisi went on to explain that he was working on the 54th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. He felt the impact of a plane ramming into the first tower and ran outside to see what was happening. When the building began to crumble, “I just started f—ing booking it,” he told Maron. He stopped just in time to turn around and see the second tower collapse.

Psychologist Christopher Chabris, who studies false memory, said that Rannazzisi’s story isn’t a case of someone mistakenly remembering something that didn’t really happen. It’s about inserting one’s self into a narrative that’s already getting a lot of sympathy.

“I’m not sure it takes a psychologist to come up with motivations for that,” he said. “Saying you survived 9/11 … is a more attention-getting story. You can get into a loop where if you get rewarded for that sort of thing you keep on doing it.”

Read the whole story: The Washington Post

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