How Video Crushes the Misinformation Effect 

A num­ber of exter­nal fac­tors warp our mem­o­ries and hurt objec­tiv­i­ty. Video snaps our brains back to reality.

How Video Crushes the Misinformation Effect 

A num­ber of exter­nal fac­tors warp our mem­o­ries and hurt objec­tiv­i­ty. Video snaps our brains back to reality.

Imagine a game or match as a puz­zle. Each moment is one small piece of what even­tu­al­ly cre­ates the entire contest.

What if that puz­zle were miss­ing pieces, or pieces from anoth­er puz­zle were includ­ed? Trying to cre­ate the end result wouldn’t just be incred­i­bly frus­trat­ing, it’d be impossible. 

But that’s how the human mind works. Our brains are phys­i­cal­ly inca­pable of accu­rate­ly cre­at­ing objec­tive mem­o­ries. Biases, pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ences, our mood and oth­er exter­nal influ­ences mold our rec­ol­lec­tion of past events into an expe­ri­ence we believe to be the truth… but it’s not.

This is known as the mis­in­for­ma­tion effect. Our mem­o­ries run the risk of being taint­ed when fed false infor­ma­tion. These fab­ri­ca­tions blend with what we real­ly expe­ri­enced, cre­at­ing a warped ver­sion of the truth. Brett Woods, a sports psy­chol­o­gist at the University of Nebraska, said hypothe­ses devel­oped before or dur­ing games affect how we view them in the moment and remem­ber them later.

Our emo­tions can some­times over­ride our pre­frontal cor­tex, which is respon­si­ble for eval­u­at­ing per­for­mances, more of the logis­tics of eval­u­a­tion,” Woods said. That can col­or your per­cep­tion of the event and your mem­o­ry, your recall is more shad­ed by your emo­tion­al eval­u­a­tion of the per­for­mance rather than the actu­al event that took place.”

Our mem­o­ries are also influ­enced by what oth­ers recall. Even if you were about to per­fect­ly recall a game or match, the com­ments made by your ath­letes, spec­ta­tors, offi­cials and fel­low coach­es shift real­i­ty. Our mem­o­ries are not record­ings, and fac­tors such as stress, time and oth­ers’ opin­ions shift how we remem­ber an event.

Thankfully, video snaps us back to real­i­ty. Rewatching a game or prac­tice gives a com­plete­ly sub­jec­tive view of what actu­al­ly tran­spired, not what we think hap­pened. There’s a rea­son, the tape doesn’t lie” has become such a com­mon sen­ti­ment among coaches. 

Video also pro­vides a sec­ond angle to view the game from. A play may have appeared one way from the side­lines, but a dif­fer­ent angle could show some­thing com­plete­ly different.

Football is an emo­tion­al game,” Mikey Harris, the devel­op­ment coach at the Portsmouth Academy in England, said. Quite often the result, cer­tain­ly at the first-team lev­el, can impact your emo­tions, which can then cloud your inter­pre­ta­tion of what’s hap­pened, and then you can end up say­ing some­thing that might be inac­cu­rate. I think that real­ly util­is­ing the match analy­sis aspect of it. Taking that time to cool down after the game whether you’ve won or lost can make the difference.”

Coaches obvi­ous­ly aren’t the only ones who suf­fer from the mis­in­for­ma­tion effect. Players’ mem­o­ries could cause them to bris­tle at instruc­tion from a coach, but video elim­i­nates those argu­ments. It can also remind strug­gling ath­letes of their best moments, boost­ing confidence.

Players can objec­tive­ly see their per­for­mances,” Jose Manuel Figueira, the head coach of Team Wellington FC, said. Right after the game, play­ers may think they played well or not so good, but the video rep­re­sents a true reflec­tion of their per­for­mance. It’s real­ly valu­able for the play­ers to put into con­text their own performance.”

When our brains fail us and mod­i­fy our mem­o­ries, video restores an objec­tive view. Combat the mis­in­for­ma­tion effect with video.