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listen to hte French radio station " Rires et chansons " (" Laughs
and songs " ).
One regular section of the programme on the air then especially
caught my attention.
Entitled " La Rumeur " (" The Rumour "), its scheme was as follows :
an accomplice would enter a pub and tell the people there of a
sensational event that had supposedly just happened nearby
involving a name from the world of entertainement, sport or
politics. Then he would leave.
Naturally his story was false from beginning to end.
Soon afterwards, a phoney team of journalists would arrive in the
pub to garner testimonies concerning the " event ".
Only too happy to gain some kind of importance, the people
would report, as if they'd seen it all themselves, what the team's
accomplice had told them.
And the longer an interview lasred, the more new details they
would invent to answer the supposed journalists questioning them.
I particulary remember a sequence where the false news concerned
the footballer Zinedine Zidane.
The accomplice had told some people, without elaborating, that
the international player had been arrested that morning in a
neighbouring building by the police on suspicion of drug use.
When questioned a short time later, one pub customer confirmed
the news as if he'd seen the incident. Asked about the expression
on Zidane's face as he was being led away, the rascal gave details
that were fantasy.
In the book by father Desbois, three photos show an interview of
three particular women being filmed (pp. 34-35).
One needn't be a great psychologist to know that in such conditions,
" witnesses " will be ready to enrich a story and say what's
expected of them in order for their account to be considered
[To point up his remarks, Vincent REYNOUARD cites the case of
Anna Tchouprina who, when interviewed by father Desbois, told
of how the Germans pulled the gold teeth from the mouths of
Earlier in his study, REYNOUARD had briefly gone over the history
of the Ukraine, recalling the famine of 1932-1933, many victims
of which were buried in common graves, recalling as well the
executions carried out during the Stalinist purges (at Vinnitsa,
It's easy to talk of ditches full of jewish remains in the Ukraine,
especially when the sites are not dug open to allow a forensic
inspection that might tell who the dead were, and wheter they'd
in fact been shoot...]
source : Vincent REYNOUARD, " Le Père Desbois : champion
du bidonnage " in Sans Concession n° 36, Jan-Feb 2008.
The père Desbois in an interview in France confessed that he
didn't know who where buried in Ukraine. But he did his book
and his film without this knowledge !!! ( sorry, for my English ...)
Study: It's Easy to Plant False Memories
The Associated Press, Sun 16 Feb 2003
http://www.cnn.com/2003/HEALTH/02/16/fa ... index.html
DENVER (AP) — Remember that wonderful day when Bugs Bunny hugged you at Disneyland? A study presented Sunday shows just how easy it can be to induce false memories in the minds of some people.
More than a third of subjects in the study recalled that theme-park moment — impossible because Bugs is not a Disney character — after a researcher planted the false memory.
Other research, of people who believed they were abducted by space aliens, shows that even false memories can be as intensely felt as those of real-life victims of war and other violence.
The research demonstrates that police interrogators and people investigating sexual-abuse allegations must be careful not to plant suggestions into their subjects, said University of California-Irvine psychologist Elizabeth Loftus. She presented preliminary results of recent false memory experiments Sunday at the national meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Loftus said some people may be so suggestible that they could be convinced they were responsible for crimes they didn't commit. In interviews, ``much of what goes on — unwittingly — is contamination,'' she said.
The news media's power of suggestion also can leave a false impression, Loftus said.
``During the Washington sniper attacks, everyone reported seeing a white van,'' she said. ``Where did it come from? The whole country was seeing white vans.''
A key, researchers said, is to add elements of touch, taste, sound and smell to the story.
In the Bugs Bunny study, Loftus talked with subjects about their childhoods and asked not only whether they saw someone dressed up as the character, but also whether they hugged his furry body and stroked his velvety ears. In subsequent interviews, 36 percent of the subjects recalled the cartoon rabbit.
In another study, Loftus suggested frog-kissing incidents that 15 percent of the group later recalled.
``It is sensory details that people use to distinguish their memories,'' said Loftus, who has conducted false memories experiments on 20,000 subjects over 25 years. ``If you imbue the story with them, you'll disrupt this memory process. It's almost a recipe to get people to remember things that aren't true.''
In other research presented Sunday, Harvard University psychologist Richard McNally tested 10 people who said they had been abducted, physically examined and sexually molested by space aliens.
Researchers tape-recorded the subjects talking about their memories. When the recordings were played back later, the purported abductees perspired and their heart rates jumped.
McNally said three of the 10 subjects showed physical reactions ``at least as great'' as people suffering post traumatic stress disorder from war, crime, rape and other violent incidents.
``This underscores the power of emotional belief,'' McNally said.
For more on easily manufatured 'memories' and fantasies:
'Key to False Memories Uncovered'
'False memories as 'facts' / some examples'
'False memories and the "misinformation effect"'
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