20. Mind, Memory and Justice


How good is your memory? If you had seen a crime being committed, would you make a good witness in trial?

Explain to students that for many people, the best kind of evidence is that which you have ‘seen for yourself’. But can you believe your own eyes?


Show students the TEDx talk by Elizabeth Loftus, ‘How reliable is your memory?’ at


You can show the whole talk if you have time or just from 0m 11s to 5m 30s and from 14m to the end.

Ask the students to respond to such questions as:

  • What do you think should have happened in the trial of Steve Titus?
  • Does Elizabeth Loftus’ talk mean that all eye-witness accounts are untrustworthy? Why / why not?


Show students https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo and stop the film after 56 seconds when the information about the gorilla is revealed. Then ask the students:

  • Did you see the gorilla?
  • What colour was the curtain in the film?
  • How may players in black shirts were there at the end?

Then play the rest of the film.

Ask the students to respond to such questions as:

  • What surprised you about the film?
  • Do you think you may have already gathered some ‘false memories’?
  • Can you think of some examples where false memories lead to a lot of trouble?


Suggest to students that they try keeping a diary in the coming week. Can they write down observations in an honest, unbiased way? Advise them to try to record the actual emotions they were feeling at the time of events that occur, no matter how positive or negative. Challenge them to do this before the passing of time allows the subconscious to ‘tweak’ those feelings.

At the start of the next session, ask students how successful they think they have been in this exercise and to offer some reflections on the experience.

1.  Happiness Part 1: status anxiety
2.  Happiness Part 2: religion and happiness
3.  Happiness Part 3: what is happiness?
4.  Morality Part 1: what is morality?
5.  Morality Part 2: should we live by ‘moral laws’?
6.  Morality Part 3: where does our sense of morality come from?
7.  Are You Religious?
8.  What Is a Religion and what is a Cult?
9.  What does it Mean to be Religious Today?
10. Religion in Numbers Part 1: how many people on Earth?
11. Religion in Numbers Part 2: how many people are ‘religious’?
12. Religion in Numbers Part 3: how did believers got to where they are?
13. Are All Religions Equal?
14. Transactional Analysis: learning how to feel equal
15. Bloom’s Taxonomy
16. Harry Potter and God
17. Without Fear or Favour Part 1
18. Without Fear or Favour Part 2
19. It’s Not Fair
20. Mind, Memory and Justice
21. Karma, Memory, Freedom and Justice
22. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 1: Religion Without God
23. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 2: God and Morality
24. The Religion of Ordinary Life Part 3: Is Life Beautiful?
25. Can Atheists learn anything from Religion?
26. What do Buddhists Believe about God?
27. Is Seeing Believing?
28. Are We Being Hypnotised?
29. Sex and Relationships
30. Truth, Proof and Evidence
31. How should we deal with the range of different opinions in today’s world?
32. Is Religion a Force for Evil or Good?
33. Do Religious Experiences Prove God?
34. What Is Evil?
35. God and Evil
36. Can we verify Religious Experiences?
37. How Spiritual are You?
38. What is Philosphy?
39. The Power of Words
40. Art and Beauty

A printable (pdf) version of this session can be found here

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