A new study by Researchers at the University of Warwick, England, has revealed that nearly 50 percent of people will “remember” personal experiences which never happened when it is suggested to them that they were personally involved in the events—a phenomena which serves to explain the endless list of overtly fake “Holocaust memoirs,” supposed “eyewitnesses,” and obviously made-up “testimony” about the German concentration camps in World War II.
The study, titled “A mega-analysis of memory reports from eight peer-reviewed false memory implantation studies,” published in the journal Memory (Volume 25, 2017), did not deal specifically with the holocaust, but its findings can be applied to all collective “eyewitness” accounts of historical events.
According to the paper’s abstract, the “understanding that suggestive practices can promote false beliefs and false memories for childhood events is important in many settings (e.g., psychotherapeutic, medical, and legal).”
Over 400 participants in “memory implantation” studies had fictitious autobiographical events suggested to them—and it was found that around 50 percent of the participants believed, to some degree, that they had experienced those events, an official press release from Warwick University revealed.
“Participants in these studies came to remember a range of false events, such as taking a childhood hot air balloon ride, playing a prank on a teacher, or creating havoc at a family wedding.”
“30 percent of participants appeared to ‘remember’ the event—they accepted the suggested event, elaborated on how the event occurred, and even described images of what the event was like. Another 23 percent showed signs that they accepted the suggested event to some degree and believed it really happened.”
The official press release went on to say that:
These findings have significance in many areas—raising questions around the authenticity of memories used in forensic investigations, court rooms, and therapy treatments.
Moreover, the collective memories of a large group of people or society could be incorrect—due to misinformation in the news, for example—having a striking effect on people’s perceptions and behavior.
Dr. Wade comments on the importance of this study:
“We know that many factors affect the creation of false beliefs and memories—such as asking a person to repeatedly imagine a fake event or to view photos to “jog” their memory. But we don’t fully understand how all these factors interact. Large-scale studies like our mega-analysis move us a little bit closer.
“The finding that a large portion of people are prone to developing false beliefs is important. We know from other research that distorted beliefs can influence people’s behaviors, intentions and attitudes.”
The study said that independent raters coded transcripts using seven criteria: accepting the suggestion, elaboration beyond the suggestion, imagery, coherence, emotion, memory statements, and not rejecting the suggestion.
The study’s findings were that 30.4 percent of cases were classified as false memories and another 23 percent were classified as having accepted the event to some degree.
When the suggestion included self-relevant information, an imagination procedure, and was not accompanied by a photo depicting the event, the memory formation rate was 46.1 percent.
In other words, nearly half of those tested agreed with completely fictitious “memories” when it was suggested to them that they had been present when a certain event occurred, even when there was absolutely no corroborating evidence (such as a photograph) to prove the memory.
Even worse, 30 percent of participants even elaborated on the fake memory, describing further in depth what the nonexistent event was like.
The study is of great significance to historians everywhere, but takes on added importance for holocaust studies, where so much of the so-called evidence relies purely on “eyewitnesses” and “memoirs.”
Evidence of the false memory effect can be seen in almost all “survivor” accounts, as a June 2013 article in the U.K.’s Daily Mail, titled “Could there be anything more twisted than these Holocaust fantasists? How more and more people are making up memoirs about witnessing Nazi crimes,” by English historian Guy Walters, revealed.
Although Walters is a holocaust believer—and his article focused on the increasingly large number of overtly fake holocaust memoirs being peddled as genuine, Walters went on to point out the influence of false memories in “survivor accounts” this way:
Take the example of the recent Survivor of the Long March: Five Years as a PoW 1940–1945 by Charles Waite.
At one point, Waite recalls how he witnessed a Jewish baby being snatched from its mother by a guard. ‘The baby started crying,’ Waite writes, ‘and he threw it onto the ground and started kicking it like a football along the track.’ The screaming mother was then shot in the back of the head, and the baby left dead on the ground.
Can this story be true? It is possible, but we only have Waite’s word for it, and he died last year.
Unfortunately, we are now entering a situation where nearly every Holocaust memoir features such a scene. It is almost a compulsory fixture—although in truth such events were incredibly rare, for the simple reason that killing babies in front of their parents is not the best way to pacify a train full of prisoners.
Walters also pointed out how the “evil medical doctor” story has now become de rigueur:
Another fixture of Holocaust memoirs is that sinister figure, the SS doctor Josef Mengele. Again, nearly every memoir written by an Auschwitz survivor will recollect Mengele at a ‘selection’, determining who will be sent to the gas chambers. More often than not, he is whistling a Wagnerian aria and wearing a spotless white coat.
In truth, Mengele was just one of many ‘doctors’ employed at the camp, and he was by no means at every selection.
The latest false memory study from Warwick University explains these “memoirs” perfectly: supposed survivors repeating stories which they only ever heard about, and which they now themselves believe to be true, and have even “witnessed.”