Tag Archives: recall

Belief in the supernatural creates false memories in kids.

By, Adam K. Fetterman
In my previous post I gave a possible explanation of why so called “paranormal researchers” or “ghost hunters” attribute randomness to the paranormal. I also mentioned that I would have an upcoming post on why people are motivated to believe in the paranormal. However, I came across an article about the memories of supernatural experiences in children, so that post will be put on the backburner for now. The reason this article struck me is because I recently have been watching a spin-off (?) of Paranormal State called Psychic Kids. The show employs “psychic” Chip Coffey to help “psychic” children develop and embrace their “psychic abilities” in order to not be afraid anymore. In the episodes of this show, and others such as Paranormal State, the children and adults are quite convinced that what they have seen in the past was real, and paranormal. This is because they probably have created false-memories of these events based on their supernatural beliefs.

According to the research of Principe and Smith (2007), children who hold beliefs of the supernatural are more likely to construct memory errors that comport with their paranormal beliefs. Specifically, they found that children who believe in the tooth fairy were more likely to recall supernatural experiences surrounding the loss of a tooth, than those that do not believe. That is, they have constructed “real” memories, falsely. These findings likely explain why the children and adults from these paranormal shows appear completely convinced that their experiences were real.

It may not seem harmful to believe in the tooth fairy or some paranormal activity in a way that does not affect one’s life or when it is an adult making their own choices. However, it may seem a little more worrisome if the children show some psychological distress as a result. As Skepchick and PZ Myers have pointed out, these shows and psychics, such as Psychic Kids and Chip Coffey, may be preying on children with blatant psychological problems. That is, they seem to be feeding these problems by unscientifically “confirming” these false memories, which could increase their anxiety, fear, and social isolation. All of this for our entertainment(?).

Still coming: Why people are motivated to believe in the paranormal.

A&E’s Psychic Kids website.

Psychic Kids. By, Jen at Skepchick.org

Bad move A&E. By, PZ Myers at Pharyngula

Principe, G. & Smith, E. (2007). The tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth: How belief in the Tooth Fairy can engender false memories. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22, 625-642

Saving Face

Corporations, like people, are all about maintaining a good public image. They want to be seen as reliable, trustworthy, and even generous. Our impressions of these companies influence what products we buy and what brands garner our loyalty. Establishing a positive reputation in the market takes a very long time, yet  these hard won images can be dismantled instantly. Can companies bounce back from bad publicity to regain their former reputation? Toyota stockholders are anxiously waiting to find out.

Problems with the floor-mats in several Toyota models occurred in 2007 and 2009, and in early January of 2010 the company began to recall millions of vehicles for faulty accelerator and brake pedals. Recalling and repairing vehicles as well as dealing with impending lawsuits represents a huge financial blow to the company.

Additionally, Toyota must deal with the damage to the company’s reputation that will likely influence profits well into the future. Customers loyal to the brand may reconsider purchasing a Toyota because its reputation as a maker of efficient, reliable, and safe vehicles has been threatened.  The connection between good corporate image and profit is undeniable (Roberts & Dowling, 2002). Research suggests that restoring consumer trust after negative publicity involves a calculated use of informational, affective and  functional strategies to influence attitudes about corporate competence, benevolence, and integrity. Affective initiatives were shown to be more effective in repairing corporate image with regard to benevolence and integrity while informational strategies were more effective for attitudes about competence (Xie & Peng, 2009). Toyota still has the opportunity to rebuild their image and retain customer loyalty. According to a report by the Financial Post yesterday Toyota customers have not jumped ship yet. Resolving the recall issues and recovering from them depends not only on financial reparations but also on restoring the positive image that made them so successful in the first place.

Roberts & Dowling (2002)

Xie & Peng ( 2009)

After recall, Toyota customers not buying from anyone

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