Recent studies have shown that it's possible to make people believe they have had experiences they didn't have. They can also be led to believe that these experiences were extremely traumatic—or they would have been, if they had happened. Today on Focus, we're joined by well-known memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus from the University of California at Irvine. We'll talk about her work and review some of the controversy over recovered memories.
Why do so many people do things that are clearly against their best interests? John Portman, author of Bad for Us, says that both self-control and losing control can be acts of self-definition. He says that in doing something that society regards as bad for us, we are testing the limits of who we are. Today on Focus, Portman joins us to discuss how and why people can be their own worst enemies.
Absentmindedness, transience, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence. These are The Seven Sins of Memory according to Daniel Schacter. He joins Focus today to explore these instances of memory failure, suggesting that "failure" is actually a misnomer—and that these miscues are signs that memory is working as it should.
How much of human behavior is genetically determined? We'll revisit this age-old question this morning on Focus as we talk with authors Terry Burnham and Jay Phelan. They claim that humans are well adapted to the environment in which they originated, but since we no longer live as hunter-gatherers, our basic instincts can lead to harmful behaviors. They also argue that knowing this can help us control our behavior and lead us to happier lives.