Book Review On: Thanks for the Memories! Loftus essay

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Elizabeth Loftus provides an in-depth and informative look at the memory of a human being. The book is written for people who want to increase their memory as well as getting informed about the memory make up of the human being’s brain. Based on the current research in the related science fields, the article is suitable in helping departments involved in solving cases to understand the accuracy of the information given by the witnesses. In addition, the article is found to contain invaluable information in areas related to memory reconstruction.


The author argues that when an occurrence is recalled it is usually not remembered accurately. As a matter of fact, what is remembered is a reconstruction of the actual happening.  According to her argument, reconstructive memory results from additional, new and accessible information to fill up the gaps in the recall of an event. She emphasizes that our memories are unstable, supple and variable over time. She gives an example of a person giving a story of a vacation that happened five years ago in order to prove her point.  She explains that remembrance will result from reconstruction of memory using facts from many sources, maybe a movie that has been recently seen or the frequency of telling the story. She discharges the idea that when the story is being told, the narrator assumes to be recreating the experience as it is.

She continues to argue that two individuals may encounter an experience together and still have varying stories. She terms this as harmless but very crucial to a witness answering to a case where the defendant’s life is dependent on the witness’s memory. She proceeded and found memory reconstructions to be very important, and consequently, she started a research on this area. It was established that this study could be related to legal proceedings in eyewitness testimony. In her research, she found that delicate influences such as phrasing of words can change a person’s memory for an already witnessed event. Therefore, Elizabeth Loftus research bears a lot of significance in memory reconstruction coupled with the demonstrations that phrasing of questions asked of witnesses could distort their memories of occurrences if they were to be questioned. Hence her study focuses on memory theory as well as criminal law.


            The central idea in the article is about the inaccuracy of the eye witness and reconstruction of memory. Her research has been accepted by a wide scope of scholars and over the years gaining a lot of support from other researchers. However, some completely differ with her findings and form part of her critics. Some researchers argue that incorporation of new information can direct the witness to inaccurate answers, but the initial accurate memory is still there and may still be accessed. Another ground for criticism is that many eyewitnesses are able to recall what they saw and can clearly distinguish objects they came by. Also in the proceedings of criminal prosecutions, the eyewitness report is not subjected to a lot of scrutiny hence; the level of inaccuracy brought out by Elizabeth might not apply so much in this case.

            Finally, it is highly recommended that readers use this article in expanding their knowledge on memory reconstruction and eyewitness inaccuracy. Elizabeth’s effort to develop her theory has positioned her as one of the leading experts. She is consulted in cases where people have been abused sexually, either in the past or recently and have remembered that they were abused. Using her article, she helps to distinguish those who have been helped by a therapist and those claiming to have completely forgotten about the abuse. Therefore, the article equips the reader with vast knowledge and comprehensive information about memory reconstruction.

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