Obviously I am talking here about the ones who aren't lying. This may or may not include some of the characters who claim to have seen gassings take place in detail.
I decided to take a look at what the psychological literature had to say about false memories and how they can take root.
Alan Alda had nothing against hard-boiled eggs until last spring. Then the actor, better known as Hawkeye from M*A*S*H, paid a visit to the University of California, Irvine. In his new guise as host of a science series on American TV, he was exploring the subject of memory. The researchers showed him round, and afterwards took him for a picnic in the park. By the time he came to leave, he had developed a dislike of hard-boiled eggs based on a memory of having made himself sick on them as a child - something that never happened.
Alda was the unwitting guinea pig of Elizabeth Loftus, a UCI psychologist who has been obsessed with the subject of memory and its unreliability since Richard Nixon was sworn in as president. Early on in her research, she would invite people into her lab, show them simulated traffic accidents, feed them false information and leading questions, and find that they subsequently recalled details of the scene differently - a finding that has since been replicated hundreds of times.
More recently, she has come to believe that lab studies may underestimate people's suggestibility because, among other things, real life tends to be more emotionally arousing than simulations of it. So these days she takes her investigations outside the lab. In a study soon to be published, she and colleagues describe how a little misinformation led witnesses of a terrorist attack in Moscow in 1999 to recall seeing wounded animals nearby. Later, they were informed that there had been no animals. But before the debriefing, they even embellished the false memory with make-believe details, in one case testifying to seeing a bleeding cat lying in the dust.
"We can easily distort memories for the details of an event that you did experience," says Loftus. "And we can also go so far as to plant entirely false memories - we call them rich false memories because they are so detailed and so big."
She has persuaded people to adopt false but plausible memories - for instance, that at the age of five or six they had the distressing experience of being lost in a shopping mall - as well as implausible ones: memories of witnessing demonic possession, or an encounter with Bugs Bunny at Disneyland. Bugs Bunny is a Warner Brothers character, and as the Los Angeles Times put it earlier this year, "The wascally Warner Bros. Wabbit would be awwested on sight", at Disney.
Elizabeth Loftus' research has obvious implications for the reliability of eyewitness testimony. And it was as a result of her findings that in 1994 she co-wrote her book, The Myth of Repressed Memory, and took a strong stand in the recovered memory debate of the 90s, for which she was reviled by those who claimed to have uncovered repressed memories of abuse - alien, sexual or otherwise.
The American Psychological Association (APA) now takes the line that most people who were sexually abused as children remember all or part of what happened to them, and that it is rare (though not unheard of) that people forget such emotionally charged events and later recover them. But it states that, "Concerning the issue of a recovered versus a pseudomemory, like many questions in science, the final answer is yet to be known." And the debate simmers on. Several new lines of evidence suggest that the interaction between memory and emotion is more complex than was thought. Powerful emotions, it seems, can both reinforce and weaken real memories. We may be able to actively degrade painful memories. And false memories, once accepted, can themselves elicit strong emotions and thereby mimic real ones.
http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/neuro/f ... ories.html
Any revisionist reading this stuff will see how relevant it is. Think of how the rumours and propaganda circulating in the camp could have effected people who were suffering the trauma of being uprooted from their homes and sent to crowded and uncomfortable camps. In a way the Industry is to blame for the bad 'flashbacks' that we hear are experienced by some former camp inmates.
New studies of false memories show that what happens in the brain when memories are established can be as important to the development of false memories as what happens during memory retrieval. Other research shows that specific parts of the brain are more active when a true memory is being retrieved than when a false memory is being retrieved, potentially providing a neural label by which to understand the differences between true and false memories.
Memories can be fragile and subject to distortion because we literally cannot record and store all of what we learn and experience. People often mistakenly claim to remember having seen a word or object that is similar to something they saw earlier, according to several studies. Such false memories can have an even greater impact when they manifest in such a way that entirely novel events are implanted into an individual’s memory. Such an individual can willingly retrieve these completely false memories, such as being lost in a mall, with surprisingly vivid and specific details.
Neuroimaging techniques can help determine if the neural processes driving this retrieval of inaccurate memories are different from those that drive the retrieval of accurate memories. Several research groups are using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to address this question. The hope is that neuroimaging can help determine the various potential sources of false memories.
http://apu.sfn.org/content/AboutSFN1/Ne ... false.html
While today, any psychologist using their knowledge for revisionist work will become an outcast, in the future I'm sure psychology careers will be built on this subject.