Implanting False Memories May Help Dieters

Professor LoftusHere’s a study that’s guaranteed to set psychologists’ minds a-spinning with ethical issues. Professor Loftus (left) at the University of California managed to put participants off strawberry ice cream, pickles and hard-boiled eggs by implanting false childhood memories:

“In the strawberry ice cream experiment a group of students were asked to fill out forms about their food experiences and preferences. Some of the subjects were then given a computer analysis which falsely said they had become sick from eating strawberry ice cream as children. Almost 20% later agreed in a questionnaire that strawberry ice cream had made them sick and that they intended to avoid it in the future.”

Future studies plan to implant positive memories of fresh vegetables.
The Guardian

About the author

Dr Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and the author of PsyBlog and His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick". You can follow PsyBlog by email, by RSS feed, on Twitter and Google+.

Published: 3 August 2005

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