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False memory and Bugs Bunny

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Lembran Sar's picture
Joined: Feb 23 2012
Posts: 25

Does anyone recall a study into false memory involving Bugs Bunny and Disney World?

I was blogging about this today in a post on false memory and it has thrown up my own false memory doubt:

I recall reading the study where subjects were shown information about Disney World and asked if they had been and, if so, did they meet Bugs Bunny.

People who had seen information with images of Bugs Bunny were much more likely to say they had, even though Bugs Bunny is not a Disney character and so their memory must be false.

They had created the memory based on the information they had absorbed at the time of the study.

I remember reading about this clearly in New Scientist magazine when I was at school in the 1970s. Possibly it could have been in the 1990s, when I also had a subscription to the magazine, but it feels longer ago.

So I wrote this up and then thought I'd do a web search to see if I could find the details to add as a link to my blog. Sure enough, it seems to be a famous study with lots of reports on the internet.

The only trouble is, the reports on the internet date the study from 2001.

I know where I was in 2001 and trying to place the memory then feels like forcing a square peg into a round hole. But perhaps I've attached the memory to when I read New Scientist and created a false memory.

So am I a reliable witness if I say the 2001 study must have been a repeat of an earlier study that predates widespread use of the internet? Or do I have a false memory of when I read it? Oh, the irony!

Does anyone remember an earlier report of such a study? Better still, do you have a reference?

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