The Power of Digital Media to Shape False Narratives

There’s an interesting summary in Mediated Memories, by Jose van Dijck, pg 100-101 detailing research into the power of doctored media to shape false narratives:

In the early 1990s, researchers from America and New Zealand persuaded experimental subjects into believing false narratives about their childhoods, written or told by family members and substantiated by “true” photographs. 8 Over the next decade, these findings were corroborated by experiments in which doctored pictures were used; more than 50 percent of all subjects constructed false memories out of old personal photographs that were carefully retouched to depict a scene that had never happened in that person’s life.

I took part in an experiment a few years ago, under false pretences, in which I was ultimately presented with a fake video of myself stealing money. I told them that “I can’t explain the video but I didn’t steal your money”. This makes me learn towards a narrative view of what’s going on here: I didn’t feel able to deny the reality of the video but, sans narrative, I couldn’t accept that it portrayed what it purported to.