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Kerry Swift Boat Arguments Illustrate Faithlessness of Memory [link]

by Scrvpvlvs
Aug 28, 2004 7:50 PM–

To memory researchers, it doesn't take intentional falsifying to understand the discrepancies in the retelling of Sen. John Kerry’s war experiences. Far from being an indelible recording, human memory is fragile, incomplete, malleable and highly subject to suggestion, researchers have shown in dozens of studies.

In [an] experiment with soldiers, Yale researchers interviewed about 150 at intervals over six years, starting soon after their return from the first war with Iraq in 1991.

They asked the soldiers questions about their experiences, including whether they took incoming gunfire, faced Scud missile attacks and witnessed a friend’s death. About 15 percent changed their recall of something significant, like seeing a friend die, the researchers reported.

Some veterans were upset when their own discrepancies were pointed out. Some even asked for help. “They would say, ‘Which one is it?’ to me. I’d say, ‘I don’t know. I wasn’t there.’”

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