In an image obsessed world, where photos can be edited at the touch of a button, it is increasingly difficult to tell what is real and what is fake. Being able to distinguish between truth and lies in photography is important, but why?
For nearly 20 years, cognitive psychologist Kim Wade has examined the impact of doctored images on memory, cognition and behaviour. Her work has shown that doctored photos and videos can lead people to develop detailed and compelling memories of entire events that never happened. In a recent line of research, Wade and colleagues asked whether people have the ability to distinguish between authentic and doctored images in their daily lives. And if so, are some people better at spotting fakes than others?
Kim Wade is a Professor in Psychology at the University of Warwick. She is a cognitive psychologist specialising in autobiographical and episodic memory, best known for her research demonstrating the power of doctored images to distort memories. Kim is especially interested in the mechanisms that drive the development of false memories, and in refining the theories that explain false memory phenomena. Much of her work has implications for policymakers and professionals in legal settings (e.g., witness evidence in criminal and civil cases, police investigative techniques, “recovered” memories in the courtroom). She has served as an Associate Editor at Legal and Criminological Psychology, Executive Director of the international Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (SARMAC), and Deputy Director of Warwick’s Centre for Operational Police Research (COPR). Her research is published in many high-impact journals, and appears frequently in the media, in undergraduate texts, and in books for the educated layperson.
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