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Virtual Reality Creates False Memories

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the I'm-sure-I've-saved-the-earth-before dept.

Graphics 193

moon_monkey writes "There's an interesting post on NewScientistTech's blog about virtual reality inducing false memories during a recent experiment (pdf). Ann Schlosser at the University of Washington tested students' ability to learn how to use a real digital camera by operating a virtual one. Although those students who used the virtual camera found it easier to remember how the camera worked, they also experienced more 'false memories'. As the post points out, could this be a serious problem for VR going forward?"

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So... (5, Funny)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145158)

So I didn't really lose my virginity? it was just VR? Damn

Re:So... (2, Funny)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145226)

So I didn't really lose my virginity? it was just VR? Damn
Damn! And I have quite the opposite problem! Drank some 10 glasses of beer the evening when it happened, and have (almost) no memory of the act...

Re:So... (4, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145284)

Oh you did, but it wasn't with Heidi Klum. It was with something less attractive. I've seen the YouTube, and all I can say that you're a sick puppy. :P

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17146562)

I've seen the YouTube, and all I can say that you're a sick puppy.

Ironically, so was his partner.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145374)

This is all baloney. Although ever since I got back from my Mars vacation I've felt a little strange, but my wife tells me it should pass soon.

Re:So... (1)

Ham_belony (820906) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145628)

Sorry has nothing to do with me

Re:So... (1)

Pflipp (130638) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145720)

Your wife you say? Hm... Let's elaborate on that...

Re:So... (1)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146256)

You never should have trusted them with your mind, Quaid.

Simple (2, Insightful)

black6host (469985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145166)

Just design it the way they think it should work. Problem solved.

I'm confused (5, Insightful)

Chineseyes (691744) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145174)

Regardless of whether this happened in reality or a virtual reality it still happend so how are the memories false? Or is this just a matter of distinguishing between real and virtual worlds if so then that makes perfect sense because dreams imo are our own virtual reality and I've had some dreams that I couldn't distinguish between reality when I woke up.

Re:I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145396)

If you had a mess in your shorts, it was a dream? So it 'came' with physical evidence too!

Re:I'm confused (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145442)

so how are the memories false?

The memories are false because things did not really happen as the test subjects remembered.

If you have the time and/or inclination, read up on the research of Dr. Elizabeth Loftus. She (and others) have demonstrated that it is trivial to create false memories in people. More importantly, once a false memory has been created, it is otherwise indistinguishable from a real one. That means a person cannot rid themselves of a false memory any more than they can rid themselves of a real memory. The implications of this are significant.

Re:I'm confused (2, Interesting)

WeeLad (588414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145884)

This reminds me of an article that showed up sometime ago (for which I'm too lazy to search). Subjects who had went to Disney World as a child were asked to remember if they met a series of characters while there. The questioners mixed in a non-Disney character, like Bugs Bunny, and a significant number of people claimed to remember meeting the rascally rabbit.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146110)

I can see that being a bit confusing; the warner brothers characters are used at Six Flags, and I could see how the memories could blur in the mind of a child. They may have actually met Bugs, but it just wasn't at Disneyworld.

Re:I'm confused (2, Interesting)

FingerDemon (638040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146140)

I think that was a Scientific American article on hypnosis and I thought it only happened when the subjects were hypnotized or in a state of deep concentration. Being in that state caused the memories to be recorded in the brain in an indistinguishable way from the way real memories are stored. It made me wonder about that whole day-care satan worship scandal a few years back.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146214)

That article doesn't actually exist. You just imagined it.

Re:I'm confused (4, Interesting)

cloricus (691063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146200)

I read TFA and I was thinking this really isn't an issue as it is nothing new. I've heard of the lady you talk of and her research from a shrink friend of mine at uni. I have serious memory issues so this friend and I have spend a lot of time talking over the topic and she often quotes studies where unknowing parties see an event (first hand in front of them) and then when asked about it later (as little as a minute) they are asked to reconstruct the event as accurately as possible. The results in almost all of the instances she has referenced is that very few (and I believe we are talking about a percentage i.e. non existent) people remember what really happened; The rest simply see what they want to see. (Note seeing what they want to see appears, in my opinion, to be based on personal, cultural, and spur of the moment bias.)

Now as I don't have a reliable memory I have to have a system of storing information in the real world and I often see issues of parity between the real world information that I know to be correct (why would I lie to myself?) and memories which can't possibly exist. Maybe VR will make more people aware of these memory short falls that they've never noticed before (or blamed on alcohol!) though I can't see it causing any more problems than that.

In other words - "I know what I know" (2, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146738)

That means a person cannot rid themselves of a false memory any more than they can rid themselves of a real memory.

In a similar vein, people have beliefs that are just as "false". And there you have the basis for most of humanities problems.

Homo Sapiens brains just don't work right, depending on my definition of right, and you cannot disabuse me of that notion.

Re:I'm confused (2, Informative)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145456)

I think the article means that the people working with VR cameras remembered doing more things in VR than they actually did.

Re:I'm confused (4, Informative)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145674)

But that's not a new problem. It's long been known that eyewitness testimony is highly unreliable, owing to the brains ability to "fill in" details of events with extra information. The classic example is of course the intro Psych course where an unknown assailant kills someone before the whole class, then runs from the room. Ask everyone in the room to describe the assailant and what occurred and you're liable to get as many different stories as there are people. The brain has a way of smoothing over memories and adding in extra bits of information it correlates with experiences to help aid in recall, but this of course leads to degradation of the memory's "truth." THis result should really not come as much of a shock.

Re:I'm confused (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145818)

Yes, and the point here is that eyewitness testimony of events that occured in VR is even more unreliable than usual.

Re:I'm confused (4, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146478)

The classic example is of course the intro Psych course where an unknown assailant kills someone before the whole class, then runs from the room.

Wow.. higher education sounds a lot more practical based over in the USA! Do you tend to use vagrants as the 'someone', or just international scholarship students who get promised that the money will go to their families?

Re:I'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17146702)

promised that the money will go to their families

Sounds like the false inducement they use to get people signed up for the armed services here in the U.S. Lies, lies, and government-funded violence. How quaint God must think this Universe.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Boreras (1000123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145866)

Through a discussion with a friend, we came to the conclusion that Virtual, or any other way of it being 'Fake', is actually reality, because we are actually not capable of distinguishing one from another, they are definition wise, the same. Even Plato coming out of his cave, won't be able to actually tell that those perfect geometrical shapes, are real.
I just found wikipedia on this subject [wikipedia.org]

Not False Memories (1)

Alien54 (180860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145898)

... except by the way that Virtual reality is "not real". However knowledge is developed internally by building up a mental model of something. This can be done through the use of a variety of modeling techniques, such as illustrations, scale mock ups (such as seen in architecture and military uses), etc. as well as VR.

Now you do have people who get into trouble by mixing reality and fantasy. Take the 4 year old who scared aware theives by surprising them in his red Power Ranger suit [dailyindia.com] .

The phenomena of mixing fantasy and reality is not a problem in virtual reality. It is an error in data processing. Which bits get the reality flag attached?

It actually sounds like incomplete education. People also tend to make things up when they have a lack of data on something, and then convince themselves that 'that's the way it is'. This is also not false memory.

Maybe these shrinks should have their heads examined.

Re:I'm confused (1)

neersign (956437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146672)

i am also confused. I actually read through the lady's paper because I thought it might give an example of one or more false-memories, but of course it didn't. Where the false memories similar to the the subject saying the camera was blue when it was orange? Or remembering the flash being on the left instead of it really being on the right? Or something more technical like remembering the camera had a Pentium 4 processor when it didn't really? Can some one please give me an example?

In the second test, it says that one group was told to use their imagination when taking the "test" while another group was told to not use their imagination. It then said that the group told to use their imagination ended up with more false memories. Is this not stikingly obvious? If you tell some one to make something up, is it really noteworthy that they in fact did make something up?

I took some psych, cognitive learning, and sociology classes in college, and my biggest beef with all of them is that they take every day, obvious things and apply scientific names to them so they sound important.

Maybe it's just me, but I fail to see how this is signifant or how it applies to anything other than marketing.

Hmm (1)

joshetc (955226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145176)

Doesnt that mean if they make it real virtual reality people will gain true memories? I could see some use with this for educational purposes...

Re:Neo, is that you? (1)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145696)

I know Kung-Fu!

EGA memory (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145184)

I often confuse my sex life with Leisure Suit Larry's

Re:EGA memory (1)

SpooForBrains (771537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145636)

Damnit, now my mouth tastes like the inside of a motorman's glove.

Re:EGA memory (1)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146136)

I suppose that depends on how good you were at that game. When you're getting zero either way, does it really matter if you're confused?

Duh (2, Insightful)

ari_j (90255) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145186)

That's the whole point of virtual reality: be realistic enough to be indistinguishable from reality. The fact that it results in more false memories already is just evidence that we're finally catching up with the goals set for virtual reality decades ago.

Re:Duh (3, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146126)

Except this isn't about remembering things that actually happened in VR as "real", its about remembering things that didn't happen at all simply because they were suggested in questioning.

Re:Duh (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146356)

Exactly. Virtual reality blurs the line between reality and imagination. It can be expected that imaginations become more vivid and insistent through its use, even for imagined things not related to its use.

Quaid, get your ass to MARS! (2, Informative)

puto (533470) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145206)

Actually, this has appeared in sci fi books for years, and of course did they forget flight simulators, driving simulators, and the umpteen simulators that simulate reality to learn a task? Those have been creating Virtual memories that translate into skills.

Did these guys miss the Matrix?

Even in the movie Total Recall this was beaten to death. And in Do Androids Dream of Elctric Sheep.

So nothing really new here to see, an idea that is more than 30 years old?

Anyway, Arnold beat these researchers to it.

Puto

Re:Quaid, get your ass to MARS! (2, Insightful)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145468)

There is a slight gap between "reality" and "entertainment".

Re:Quaid, get your ass to MARS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145662)

There is a slight gap between "reality" and "entertainment".

According to what this research says, apparently not...

Re:Quaid, get your ass to MARS! (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145800)

There is a slight gap between "reality" and "entertainment".

According to this research, the gap may be more slight than you credit.

Re:Quaid, get your ass to MARS! (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146566)

What about Reality TV shows? Oh, wait...

Re:Quaid, get your ass to MARS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145638)

Actually, this has appeared in sci fi books for years,


What's so special about scifi books?

Re: Scifi Books, History, Truth, VR, and Fantasy (3, Insightful)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146290)

History (dull) is the recitation of factoids that (generally) no one can dispute. However, the factoids have no meaning, and therefore little truth alone.

History (narrative) draws conclusions from the factoids, and creates historical principles. Subject to the caveat that these are only as good as the person drawing the conclusions, these historical principles have much truth, but become open to interpretation.

Contemporary fiction deliberately masks most/all factoids to sculpt a specific scenario necessary to demonstrate an overall truth the writer has noticed.

Scifi creates a subset of specific scenarios by adding new technology and social conventions to create a wider range of scenarios to use as backdrops. The best Scifi demonstrates truths which are not possible in any other genre.

Fantasy is generally an anti-technology subset cross between fictional history and mythology. It too attempts to create additional backdrop scenarios.

VR creates specific events in an alternate space that may only exist for a single specific user. If an external documentation method were used, they might be as 'factual' as any other event, but there may not be any other person able to verify these events.

We'd need a new word to describe the results of what was termed elsewhere 'faulty data processing'.

Re:Quaid, get your ass to MARS! (1)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146080)

Nowhere in Matrix did Neo screw up because he remembered things that happened neither in VR nor in the real world. And that's what "false memories" means: Not that someone remembers something he perceived in the VR but rather that someone remembers something he never perceived.

"False memories"? (4, Interesting)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145208)

Before anyone thinks this might be an indication that memories can be "implanted", I think this may be jumping to conclusions just a tad.

The blog post and the preprint make reference to the notion that people who experienced a "virtual" digital camera were more capable with the real thing...but also "remembered" things about it that weren't true, based on questions asked.

I fail to see how this is "inducing" false memories. Could this possibly be a function of the fact that the simulation isn't 100% accurate, and that "false" "memories" about the item (determined by the number of specific or leading questions that are incorrectly answered) would be reduced as the simulation gets more and more close to, well, reality?

Besides, I think we could do a study and prove that plenty of people have "false memories" with regard to the actual capabilities of real devices...

Re:"False memories"? (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145398)

I was thinking the same thing. For example, if on a history test, if a student answers "In what year did America declare independence from England?" with "1763", does that mean his history class "implanted false memories"? Or did the student ... just forget and/or guess?

So how do you distinguish getting a false memory from just forgetfulness/confusion?

Re:"False memories"? (3, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145420)

Well, I don't actually know what the questions were, because the paper is very poorly written, but I can imagine it was something like:

        Did you find the viewfinder easy to use? Yes. No. N/A.

The person doing the survey may answer yes or no, ignoring the N/A option, even though there was no viewfinder on the virtual camera. Aha! They must have a false memory of the camera because they expected to see a viewfinder! Wow, how interesting. Or, ya know, they just didn't notice the N/A option because all of the previous questions were straight Yes/No answers.

Re:"False memories"? (2, Interesting)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145656)

Or, more likely, they didn't immediately know what was meant by a "viewfinder" and assumed that "the viewfinder" referred to whatever was "finding a view" (i.e., the screen, the hole they looked through to take the picture, etc.). So they could have just force-fitted the term "viewfinder" to whatever they used that was closest in function to "finding a view".

Cause people assume, you know, surveys aren't trying to test them with trick questions.

Re:"False memories"? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146308)

Not to mention that companies sometimes call the screen on the back of the camera the "viewfinder" because it's a bit of familiar camera terminology.

Re:"False memories"? (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145704)

Or, ya know, they just didn't notice the N/A option because all of the previous questions were straight Yes/No answers.
Could be, I suppose. Why exactly would the VR group be less likely to notice the N/A option than the "standard instructions" group though?

Re:"False memories"? (1, Interesting)

kalirion (728907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145506)

Basically children in VR classrooms will be more susceptible to a psychiatrist helping them "remember" that they were abused by the VR teacher.

Re:"False memories"? (1)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145626)

Yes, I completely agree.

The false memories from VR land are probably only there because the possibilities are wider in VR than in real-life. We'd be less inclined to apply the restrictive set of real-life rules we've spent decades learning as we grow up to VR - a new environment with new rules.

So you could argue that in RL we'd apply restrictive rules to say, the functionality of a camera, but in VR we wouldn't apply the same rules (It can fly! It can turn into a duck!). So if I'm going to imagine that the camera did something that it actually doesn't, it's far more likely to be a bit wide off the mark for my VR camera than my RL camera.

But who would comment on me thinking that my RL camera can't rotate images like I thought it could, when it's far more interesting to comment on how I thought that it could turn into a duck?

Talk about making a problem where none exists. :)

Re:"False memories"? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145692)


I fail to see how this is "inducing" false memories. Could this possibly be a function of the fact that the simulation isn't 100% accurate, and that "false" "memories" about the item (determined by the number of specific or leading questions that are incorrectly answered) would be reduced as the simulation gets more and more close to, well, reality?


This may be stating the obvious, but people don't always remember things 100% correctly in actual reality either.

For instance, my wife swears up and down that she remembers paying our electric bill this month, but the electric company and the bank register would both beg to differ.

Re:"False memories"? (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145974)

If the person feels they really have learned it, it's considered a false memory because, well, because it's a memory and because it's false.

This isn't really big cause for concern or big brother fears or anything, though. False memories are completely mundane; everybody has them. They're one of the big reasons why eyewitness testimony is becoming less and less trusted in courts - it turns out that one of the easiest ways to induce false memories is to grill somebody about a situation over and over (like, say, during a deposition). If there's anything that the person isn't 100% sure of, their brain will start making stuff up to fill in the gaps, and as they repeat it they will become more sure of it, until they get to the point that they're on the witness stand saying they're absolutely certain of stuff that they really just made up - without realizing it.

Let's play house. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145212)

"The result? Those who used the virtual camera were better at recalling what it could do. But, they also had significantly more false memories about its abilities."

Slashdot is a VR experiment?

Today, a young man.... (5, Funny)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145228)

Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration... that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There's no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we're the imagination of ourselves. Here's Tom with the weather.

Re:Today, a young man.... (-1, Offtopic)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145306)

Awesome SIG and a great comment. If only I had mod points. +10 Hilarious

Re:Today, a young man.... (2)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145336)

Life ... feeds on life ... feeds on life...

Re:Today, a young man.... (0, Offtopic)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145454)

Ah, an older tool fan:-)

For your own reference, what I quoted (from "third eye") was originally said by Bill Hicks. If you don't know who Bill Hicks is, there is a DVD that contains his three best performances that were videotaped...try to find it. One of the most if not the most intelligent people ever to walk this planet.

Re:Today, a young man.... (4, Funny)

CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145500)

Oh, you know what he's doing now? He's going for the righteous indignation dollar. That's a big dollar. Lot of people are feeling that indignation, we've done research. Huge market. He's doing a good thing.

Re:Today, a young man.... (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145646)

Hey mister funny man! Come 'ere!

-Rick

Re:Today, a young man.... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145748)

"Hey buddy, we're christian we don't like what you said!"

I said "Then forgive me."

Gut reaction (4, Interesting)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145238)

My gut reaction is to respond to this with a solid NO. If we experience something "virtually" we're still experiencing it. It is a fundamentally different experience from actually operating the camera. Yes, much of the knowledge gained from actually using the device is directly applicable when you are actually holding it, but there is something to be said for the physical hands-on experience.

Or, perhaps the simplest answer...your students are dumb, they couldn't remember all of the instructions 100% accurately and screwed them up. Upon questioning their stupidity they responded "the computer...it...it gave me false memories! TETSUOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!"

Something like that.

Just like real memories... (5, Interesting)

aliendisaster (1001260) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145246)

I'm not a psychologist but, if I remember correctly from my psych classes, memories is a lie. The things we remember now are not the actual events from the past. What we remember is basically pieces of the truth that has gaps filled in by our mind. I don't really see the difference from this and normal memory.

The _other_ problem (1)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145264)

I suffer from the opposite problem: the wife remembers all the mistakes that I don't. Maybe I should invest in some VR experiences.

I'm not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145290)

I've had dreams - and surprisingly detailed ones - where I was writing code, playing games, or interacting with the computer in some way. I think the human brain is hardwired to adjust to the surrounding environment and begin thinking within that paradigm ... so if you spend the majority of your time in some kind of virtual domain, that's where your thoughts and memories will be formed.

Doubtful (5, Interesting)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145334)

As the post points out, could this be a serious problem for VR going forward?"
It might only be a problem when applied to subtle differences between VR and real life, like changing the functionality of camera between VR/RL slightly.

On significant things, like jumping off a ledge and flying; well - we might be able to distinguish between RL and VR in those circumstances.

In bad-analogy-land, if I was to swap a few keys on your keyboard you might find it confusing for a bit, but if I were to paint it green, you'd probably notice (unless it was already green of course).

Of course, where you draw the line between subtle and significant is a whole other argument. But I think the human brain does that already to some extent; remembering important things and discarding irrelevant things.

Serious problem? Doubtful.

woohoo! (-1, Offtopic)

Requiem (12551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145342)

That's not a bug, that's a feature!

This will help VR for advertisement (3, Interesting)

paulpach (798828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145352)

As the post points out, could this be a serious problem for VR going forward?
Quite the opposite. This means that you can make an audience believe the camera is more than it really is without actually lying. This is like striking gold for advertisers. If this proves to be true, it is an incentive for advertisers to invest into VR technology.

Dupe! (4, Funny)

muellerr1 (868578) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145354)

Or, wait, maybe it's not. I guess can't rightly recall now.

Nice and cool, except ... (1)

janoc (699997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145362)

This isn't virtual reality at all. It is research of impact of animated/interactive ad and one static ad on a web site. Of course, the animated ad/product presentation can give you extra information which you will remember. If the ad is designed to show/sell more than there really is, you get false memories since you are not interacting with the real thing, only its idealized avatar (we are speaking about marketing, remember - you will not present the bad things ...). Not exactly sky shattering research here ...

Does direction of movement matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145366)

Are false memories a problem? Probably.
Is this a serious problem for VR? I doubt it but there's not enough data to tell.
Does it matter if it's going forward, backward, left, right, up or down? I don't see how this could be relevant.

I really hate that phrase.

I Believe There is a Name for That Condition: (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145390)

"Vuja De"

Re:I Believe There is a Name for That Condition: (4, Funny)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145666)

Surely "Deja VR" ...

i'll get my coat

I remember (1)

locksmith101 (1017864) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145490)

I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind, There was something so pleasant about that place...

I expect there is no one phenomenon of memory (4, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145494)

"Memory" is a completely inadequate word to cover all the things we use it for, as if our minds were cameras that recorded our experiences on tape. There are sense memories; emotional memories; recognition memories; navigation memories; skill memories; procedure memories; narrative memories; association memories, and probably dozens more. Memory is not just recall, it has a substantial element of re-creation and imagination.

Re:I expect there is no one phenomenon of memory (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146494)

My oldest memory is from the day my family moved when I was 3 and the most important part of what I remember from that day is the heavy rain. Unfortunatelly, it was actually a bright sunny day, so I believe it was only the sadness of leaving the only home I knew at that time mixed up with other things, but although I know it is wrong, it is still one of my strongest memories from my childhood.

Really? NO! (1)

revlayle (964221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145528)

I mean people already have trouble with memories that actually happened or not ALREADY, without virtual reality. Anything that can create a memory or distort it can make our perception of past-events unique and not always what they really seem to be.

Not a comparison of Reality and Virtual Reality (2, Interesting)

secretasiandan (614112) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145566)

only between memories from different VR experiences.

In fact, the study leads me to believe that experiences in reality will produce almost as many false memories as the 'object interactive' VR expereinces

"Indeed, scholars argue that although learning via physical experience with a product is vivid, it can create an illusory sense of competence (Hoch and Deighton 1989)"

Here, the 'object interactive' VR experiences create more vivid memories than the 'picture site'.

"Likewise, Bartlett (1932) argued that reconstructive memory is more likely to occur with rich than simplified materials because in the former case, individuals are more likely to "fill in" the missing pieces of their memories"

What's more vivid than real experiences? Arguably, because people are less familiar with the VR environment, they might be more prone to produce memories so that their minds can make sense of what occurred.

In the end, I believe false memories occur because people have models (conciously or subconciously) of how the world works in their heads. When the experience is richer, the model must be more complex. When the model is more complex, there are more things to not understand/remember. When there are more things to no understand/remember, there are more things to make up to make sense of it all

This would explain the persistance of religion (-1, Flamebait)

lohphat (521572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145576)

If you keep repeating something as true, it becomes true despite what actually transpired.

newflash? (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145598)

FTA:The result? Those who used the virtual camera were better at recalling what it could do. But, they also had significantly more false memories about its abilities.

Newflash: VR can mislead people and give them a false sense of confidence about what they think they know.

You mean (1)

Ranger (1783) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145622)

that I really didn't kill that 30th level troll and I'm not really a half-elf archer with a pet dragon?

So you can remember what you virtually did . . . (1)

glas_gow (961896) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145652)

It would actually be more interesting if they was no memory retention from virtual experience. Or is the news here that the virtual world isn't real? Thanks, I was beginning to wonder.

JAPS ATTACK PEARL !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145672)

Sneaky little devils. I predict their defeat within four years.

Article shoots itself down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145770)

Q: What is the number-one phrase most likely to make you look like an asshole in the future?

A: "It wasn't tested, but I assume..." followed by pretty much anything.

I remember when slashdot had thoughtful posts (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145792)

Every poster had RTFA, every post was modded to +5, and in Soviet Russia, there was no Beowulf cluster of ????, Profit! jokes.

Finally Contributing to the Real World (1)

slashbob22 (918040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145802)

This is an interesting development, I think it shows a certain level of maturity has finally be gained within the virtual (technology) world. Up until recently (last 5'ish years), the relationship has been mostly one way: The Desktop Metaphor is one of the prime examples of real-world transfer into a virtual one. The digital camera experiment is a good example of a virtual tool being immersive to the point where, in using a real camera, virtual hooks are now present.

Other good examples of VR transferance: Military Simulators (VBS1/2, et al.), Wii Sports and I am sure there are many others.

No worries (2, Funny)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145914)

It is usually just a glitch in the matrix.

Vmember Me? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145922)

False memories are a consequence of insufficient feedback to the mind. Anyone who ever went into an isolation tank [wikipedia.org] (think Altered States [imdb.com] , but without the apemen leaving the tank) will tell you. The mind compensates for excluded experience when it's used to experience being included by creating that experience, often indistinguishable from "real" experience of real reality.

Feedback is the return loop of interactivity, after the "sensitive" send loop.. VR is usually (some would say theoretically certainly, as in lesser degrees of infinitude) less interactive than reality. So the mind compensates. Perhaps there is a threshold of interactivity or just feedback (in which we can get a measure of sensitivity) below which the mind starts compensating. Or perhaps it's always a complement, as we remember a continuum of sense images, not the digital representations we actually experienced. From "perfect" VR presentation with no "help" from our minds or in our memories, or down to total hallucinations when the VR is really shoddy, or just perfectly minimalist, like pulling a rorschach [wikipedia.org] trigger.

For an extreme case of these memory tricks, try nemory [uncyclopedia.org] : What you don't remember, that never happened.

That finally explains.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17145964)

George Bush's victory rant on Iraq.

Nothing to do with VR (4, Interesting)

NereusRen (811533) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145976)

Let's get something straight: This was NOT a test of VR versus reality. One group interacted with a camera in VR, and the other group read about it with some pictures. (I don't have a problem with the study, but rather with bloggers who misinterpret it.)

As the post points out, could this be a serious problem for VR going forward?
No. It is going to create a problem for the concept of memories, which have always been volatile and unreliable, but for some reason are perceived as accurate fact-recall centers in our brain. Something has to force people to adjust how they think of "memories," and this suggests it might be VR.

Research into "flash-bulb" memories (e.g. "I can remember exactly where I was when I heard about the Challenger") has shown that people's confidence in their memory for small details is barely correlated with the amount of detail they actually recall correctly. Elizabeth Loftus's research into eyewitness accounts and false memories have already shown that it is possible to plant even completely false memories with a reasonable success rate, much less small differences in an otherwise real memory like whether a street sign in a video was a stop or a yield, or what specific features a digital camera has.

from the blog: "It wasn't tested, but I assume real experiences don't generate false memories to the same degree."

Actually, I would assume the opposite: allowing people to play with a real camera briefly would have the same effect.

Nothing new and not specific to VR (1)

MrTester (860336) | more than 7 years ago | (#17145984)

This is nothing new. They found a few years ago that if a person repeatedly told a story in the first person as if they had done something, after a few years many people would actually believe they had done it. Of course this only works for things that dont contradict other memories and make you querstion it.

Ask the Scientologists. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17146132)

They've been dealing with this stuff (implants on the track) for decades ..

idiotic phrase (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146160)

could this be a serious problem for VR going forward?
I want to know what marketroid fool started the irritating trend of using "going forward" instead of the perfectly serviceable "in the future" and "from now on". It's not that I'm against new and interesting additions to the language; it's just that "forward" and "backward" have traditionally been used as indications of progress--- e.g. "we will be going forward with our plan to kill half the sales department". Clearly, the use of "going forward" to encompass all of future events is a cheap trick to make it sound like everything in the future will be progress. I say it makes them sound like a tool.

Re:idiotic phrase (1)

jomama717 (779243) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146330)

In the marketroid fool's defense, he was only leveraging his synergies to deliver a proactive client driven solution.

Re:idiotic phrase and optimistic too (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146582)

If you asked me, I would have rather phrased it "VR going nowhere"

Total Recall all over again! (0, Flamebait)

topkilz (947525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146218)

The first movie wasn't bad enough; now we have to live it!!

Virtual? (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146274)

Isn't that what's called "imagination"?

Does It Really Matter? (1)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 7 years ago | (#17146314)

Does it really matter whether said "false memories" come from some virtual experience or not? Those memories are a part of the person's global collection of memories and as such probably carry as much weight as any other memories in shaping that person. The emotions attached to memories generated by virtual experiences are just as real as any other emotions. So does it really matter? The line between virtual experiences and physical experiences is blurring at an accelerating pace and soon even "ordinary" people's lives are going be taking place in virtual spaces at least part of the time whether via VR based training programs or some future VR banking services.

have you ever dreamed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17146778)

i've had several dreams in locations that only exist in certain games, mainly FPS.
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