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Forensic psychologist Scott Fraser says, "all of our memories, put simply, are reconstructed memories." (TEDxUSC)

Can Eyewitnesses Create Memories?

by NPR/TED Staff
May 24, 2013 (TED Radio Hour)

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Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Memory Games.

About Scott Fraser's TEDTalk

Forensic psychologist Scott Fraser studies how we remember crimes. He describes a deadly shooting and explains how eyewitnesses can create memories that they haven't seen. Why? Because the brain is always trying to fill in the blanks.

About Scott Fraser

When it comes to witnesses in criminal trials, the accuracy of human memory can mean the difference between life and death. Scott Fraser is a forensic psychologist who researches what's real and what's selective when it comes to human memory and crime. He focuses on the fallibility of human memory and encourages a more scientific approach to trial evidence. He has testified in criminal and civil cases throughout the U.S. in state and federal courts.

In 2011 Fraser was involved in the retrial of a 1992 murder case in which Francisco Carrillo was found guilty and sentenced to two life sentences in prison. Fraser and the team that hired him staged a re-enactment of the night in question, and they showed the testimonies that had put Carrillo in jail were unreliable. After 20 years in jail for a crime he didn't commit, Carrillo was freed.

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Joshua Foer says that one past memory champion developed a technique to remember more than 4,000 binary digits in half an hour. (James Duncan Davidson)

Can Anyone Learn To Be A Master Memorizer?

by NPR/TED Staff
May 24, 2013 (TED Radio Hour)

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Joshua Foer on the TED Stage

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Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Memory Games.

About Joshua Foer's TEDTalk

Some people can memorize thousands of numbers, the names of dozens of strangers or the precise order of cards in a shuffled deck. Science writer and U.S. Memory Champion Joshua Foer shows how anyone can become a memory virtuoso, including him.

About Joshua Foer

In 2005, science writer Joshua Foer went to cover the U.S. Memory Championship. A year later he was back — as a contestant. A year of mental training with Europe's top memorizer turned into a book, Moonwalking with Einstein, which is both a chronicle of his immersion in the memory culture and an informative introduction to the science of memory.

Much more surprisingly, that year of training also turned into a first-place victory at the national competition in New York and the chance to represent the U.S. at the World Memory Championship. Foer's writing has appeared in National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times and other publications. He is also the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura, an online guide to the world's wonders and curiosities, and the design competition Sukkah City.

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Daniel Kahneman says, "we tend to confuse memories with the real experience that gave rise to those memories." (TED / James Duncan Davidson)

How Do Experiences Become Memories?

by NPR/TED Staff
May 24, 2013 (TED Radio Hour)

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Joshua Foer on the TED Stage

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Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Memory Games.

About Daniel Kahneman's TEDTalk

Nobel laureate and founder of behavioral economics Daniel Kahneman goes through a series of examples of things we might remember, from vacations to colonoscopies. He explains how our "experiencing selves" and our "remembering selves" perceive happiness differently.

About Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman is an elder statesman in the field of behavioral economics. In the mid-1970s, with his collaborator Amos Tversky, he was among the first academics to pick apart exactly why we make "wrong" decisions.

Their work treated economics not as a perfect or self-correcting machine, but as a system prey to quirks of human perception. The field of behavioral economics was born. Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Memorial prize in 2002 for his work with Tversky, who died before the award was bestowed.

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