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Alum honored for research into false memories

Staff Writer

Published: Monday, January 25, 2010

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

UConn Alumna Maryanne Garry was elected a fellow for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry for the application of her research on false memories to examine court testimony and question public policy and legal norms.

"I've spent years trying to help students, lawyers, judges and policy makers tell the difference between good science and junk science," Garry said.

CSI publishes "Skeptical Inquirer," a science magazine intended to promote the use of science and reason in considering pertinent, current issues.

"To be in the company of some of the world's top scholars is mind-boggling and a little humbling," said Garry.

Garry is a professor at the School of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, where she conducts research on false memories.

"I'm a cognitive psychologist working in an applied area, at the intersection of behavioral science and law," said Garry.

She has contributed her knowledge in court, using her research for eyewitness testimony and recovered memories, according to a biography of Garry on the CSI Web site.

"That's what CSI is all about. They are devoted to helping us all understand that the first thing we should say when someone makes some claim is, ‘really? What is your evidence for that?'"

Garry is one of 16 new fellows, all of which have recognized success in their contributions to science and skepticism, according to a press release on Jan. 12.

"I study how it is that people can come to remember things that never really happened," Garry said. "I'm looking at the ways that photos can cause people to develop false memories and beliefs [after only] a few seconds."

"Garry … has advanced our understanding of social influences on memory, showing that placebos, aggression, and both true and fake photos can produce false memories," according to the biography.

Garry is also president of the Society for Applied Research in Memory & Cognition, according to the biography.

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