Author of five New York Times best-sellers and host of the "Revisionist History" podcast, Malcolm Gladwell, joined Glenn Beck on Thursday's show to discuss the inner workings and fallibility of human memory.
"So memory is something that, in the last generation, psychologists and neurologists have spent an enormous amount of time, work and effort trying to understand how it works. And the more we learn about memory, the more we understand how fallible it is," Gladwell explained.
He noted a famous set of studies known as the "Flashbulb" studies, in which people are asked where they were and what they were doing immediately after a major historic event, such as 9/11 or the Challenger exploding. Then they go back to the same group of people at intervals, one year later, five years later, 10 years later, and ask the same questions. When the answers are compared, it is discovered that many people will substantially alter their answers, without realizing it.
"They are as convinced 10 years later that that's what their memory was as they were the first time they related their memories," Gladwell said. "We make what is called a 'time slice error.' We confuse the timeline in our minds.
"My point was that these are not sins of character. These are just facts of human memory. And we so often want to make someone's faulty memory into a test of their character and I think that's a mistake," he continued. "A lot of what we think might be deliberate lying, is just a manifestation of the frailty of human memory."
Asked by Glenn to weigh in on the Kavanaugh hearings, Gladwell asserted that it is likely that neither Christine Blasey Ford, nor Judge Brett Kavanaugh are deliberately lying about what they remember happening 35 years ago.
"The thing about memory is that we may honestly believe that this is what happened, even though it isn't," he explained.
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"One of the most important things that memory researchers will tell you is that you can not confuse confidence with accuracy. In other words, the fact that I am absolutely certain [about] what happened ... is not a reliable guide to its accuracy," Gladwell said.
Watch the video clip above to catch more of the conversation.
You can also listen to the entire interview below:
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