Deepfake clips remaking movie scenes tricked people into misremembering the movies – but with nothing more than a fake text description.
According to one, about half of participants who were shown deepfakes of fictional movie remakes remembered them as real. recent study,
Deepfakes are digitally altered videos that can replace a person’s voice or face with another person’s.
There are concerns that these credible fake videos could be used to spread misinformation.
A team of researchers decided to focus on how deepfakes might affect an important component of the human brain: memory.
The team, led by Gillian Murphy at University College Cork in Ireland, surveyed more than 400 people after showing them deepfake clips of movies with different actors. One such fake clip was of Will Smith starring as Neo in The Matrix instead of Keanu Reeves, who actually starred in the film.
The study showed that approximately 49% of participants believed that the fake remake was the real one, with many of them “remembering the fake remake better than the original film”.
“Although our findings suggest that deepfake techniques are not uniquely placed to distort movie memories, our qualitative data suggest that the majority of participants were uncomfortable with deepfake recasting,” the researchers wrote in the study published this month in the scientific journal PLOS.
“Common concerns were disrespect for artistic integrity, disrupting the shared social experience of films, and discomfort over the control and options afforded by this technology.”
So should we be worried that the proliferation of deepfakes will affect our memories?
Human memory is more complex than we think
Previous studies have shown that there are many ways to establish false memories.
One of the leading researchers in this area is Elizabeth Loftus who conducted the “Lost in the Mall” experiment in which study participants were falsely told that they had been lost in a shopping mall as a child.
The study showed that a quarter of the participants remembered the simulated event – an experiment that Murphy himself repeated in 2022.
He summarized, “Our memories of what we originally experienced can be distorted by post-event information.”
Their latest study highlights that the results of deepfake clips are not much different from those generated by other methods, such as providing false simple text descriptions.
“With respect to movies, deepfakes may not have as powerful an effect on illusory memory as some have suggested,” the study said.
“In our next study, we will create our own deepfakes related to politics and assess any effects on voters’ memory and attitudes,” Murphy told Euronews Next.