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Why most of us ‘Remember’ Events that never Happened?

The study may have significance in many areas such as raising questions around the authenticity of memories used in forensic investigations

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London, December 12, 2016: Repeatedly hearing fake events of the past such as taking a hot air balloon ride, playing a prank on a teacher or creating havoc at a family wedding during childhood, may push people into imagining them and believing that which never happened, researchers say.

In a study conducted on false memories, more than 400 participants were suggested fictitious autobiographical events, nearly 50 per cent believed, to some degree, that they had experienced those events.

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Thirty per cent of participants appeared to ‘remember’ the event, they accepted the suggested event, elaborated on how the event occurred, and even described images of what the event was like.

Another 23 per cent showed signs that they accepted the suggested event to some degree and believed it really happened.

It can be very difficult to determine when a person is recollecting actual past events, as opposed to false memories, even in a controlled research environment and more so in real life situations, said Kimberley Wade from University of Warwick in Britain.

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The study may have significance in many areas such as raising questions around the authenticity of memories used in forensic investigations, court rooms and therapy treatments.

However, misinformation in the news can create incorrect collective memories that can affect behaviour and attitudes of society, the researchers explained.

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“The finding that a large portion of people are prone to developing false beliefs is important. We know from other research that distorted beliefs can influence people’s behaviours, intentions and attitudes,” Wade said.

The study was published in the journal Memory. (IANS)

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?