LP Magazine

NOV-DEC 2018

LP magazine publishes articles for loss prevention, asset protection, and retail professionals covering shrinkage, investigations, shoplifting, internal theft, fraud, technology, best practices, and career development.

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Evaluating Memory: I Remember It This Way O ver the last several months, we have had an opportunity to watch a social and political drama play out as the alleged victim and perpetrator traded allegations and denials under the umbrella of the selection of a United States Supreme Court justice. The last time this occurred was during the hearings to appoint Judge Clarence Thomas to the court in the 1990s. Evaluating the memories of individuals can be critical in determining the veracity of each side of the issue. In the current debate, we are left to examine the memories of a fifteen-year-old girl some thirty-five years later and the current denials of the alleged abuser. Because of their preconceived biases, it wasn't surprising that after the testimony almost no one changed their beliefs relating to who was telling the truth. What we can say for certain is there are only two or three people who know the real truth about that evening. The FBI has been tasked with doing follow-up interviews to try and shed light on the situation and likely to avoid some political heat for the politicians. We know the professional interviewers from the FBI will do a better job than our politicians who have to pontificate rather than search for the truth. Even the questioning system set up for the congressional interview was flawed if one was really searching for the truth. Let the Republican-hired prosecutor ask questions for five minutes, then stop and turn the stage over to the Democrats for five minutes—much more a show than a search for the truth. Memory Science While the political system used to vet candidates in Congress is clearly flawed, the differing memories are something we should examine more closely. We have all probably noted that memories can change over time as we retell and perhaps embellish a story for humorous reasons. Memories can be contaminated by the media or others who had their own thoughts or assumptions on the incident. Sometimes an event told by someone else changes over time and becomes our own. A memory is not like a video recording of an event that clearly captures all the details in a chronological order. Elizabeth Loftus, PhD, a renowned memory researcher, illustrates a more accurate version of memory: "Memories don't sit in one place, waiting patiently to be retrieved; they drift through the brain, more like clouds or vapor than something we can put our hands around." She means that our memories are distributed throughout the brain and may be linked by one or another of our senses to the event. Clearly, this is an oversimplification of an extremely complex storage-and-retrieval process. If we had these bits and pieces of drifting memory floating independently, it is easy to see how new memories can be shaped or created in their entirety. Over the years there have been a multitude of cases relating to repressed memories. These repressed memories often are "recovered" decades later as a result of therapy sessions with well-meaning counselors. Many of these memories become more and more bizarre as the questioning focuses on the "repressed memory." In some child-abuse cases, the initial tale moved to orgies, satanic rituals, or killings as the probing continued, mixing fantasy with bits of reality to create an entirely new memory. Understanding the human mind is a complex process, but scientists think that the memory may begin with the recognition of objects in space forming the context of the memory. The details are spread much like a net with separate locales, and then the memory is imprinted. If each memory by David E. Zulawski, CFI, CFE and Shane G. Sturman, CFI, CPP Zulawski and Sturman are executives in the investigative and training firm of Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates (w-z.com). Zulawski is a senior partner, and Sturman is president. Sturman is also a member of ASIS International's Retail Loss Prevention Council. They can be reached at 800-222-7789 or via email at dzulawski@w-z.com and ssturman@w-z.com. © 2018 Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, Inc. INTERVIEWING continued on page 14 Understanding the human mind is a complex process, but scientists think that the memory may begin with the recognition of objects in space forming the context of the memory. The details are spread much like a net with separate locales, and then the memory is imprinted. 12 NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2018 | LOSSPREVENTIONMEDIA.COM

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