Studies have shown that false memories can be implanted via innocuous suggestions, and that these memories can play a role in shaping people’s subsequent attitudes and preferences. The current study explored whether participants (N = 147) who received a false suggestion that they had become ill drinking a particular type of alcohol would increase their confidence that the event had occurred, and whether their new-found belief would subsequently affect their alcohol preferences. Results indicated that participants who received a suggestion that they had gotten sick drinking rum or vodka before the age of 16 reported increased confidence that the suggested experience had occurred. Moreover, participants who received a false alcohol suggestion also showed a strong trend to report diminished preference for the specified type of alcohol after the false suggestion. Implantation of a false memory related to one’s past drinking experiences may influence current drink preferences and could be an important avenue for further exploration in the development of alcohol interventions.
Seema L. Clifasefi, Daniel M. Bernstein, Antonia Mantonakis, Elizabeth F. Loftus,
“Queasy does it”: False alcohol beliefs and memories may lead to diminished alcohol preferences,
Volume 143, Issue 1, 2013, Pages 14-19