PSYCHOLOGY TERM PAPER
Memory is the main faculty of retaining and recalling past experiences. A repressed memory, is one that is retained in the sub conscious mind, in which one is not aware of it but where it can still affect both conscious thoughts, memory, and behavior. When memory is distorted, the result can be referred to what has been called the "False Memory Syndrome"(Thomas Billing Publishing 1995) : a condition in which a person's identity and interpersonal relationships are entered around a memory of traumatic experience which is obviously false but the person strongly believes that it isn't. However, the syndrome is not only characterized by false memories alone. We all have memories that are inaccurate. Instead, the syndrome may be diagnosed when the memory is so severely disoriented that it changes the individual's entire personality and lifestyle, therefore, disrupting all sorts of other behaviors. The means of personality disorder is on purpose. False memory syndrome is especially destructive because the person carefully avoids any confrontation what so ever with any evidence that might challenge the memory. So this syndrome takes on a life of its own, keeping itself to be alone and resistant to correction. The person may become so focused on the memory that he or she may be effectively distracted from coping with real problems in his or her life.
There are many models which try to explain how memory works. Nevertheless, we do not know exactly how memory works. One of the most questionable models of memory is the one which assumes that every experience a person has had is "recorded" in memory and that, "some of these memories are from traumatic events too terrible to want to remember"(Thomas Billings Publishing 1995). . These terrible memories are locked away in the sub conscious mind, (i.e. repressed, only to be remembered in adulthood when some triggering event opens the door to the unconscious). Both before and after the repressed memory is remembered, it causes physical and mental disorders in a person.
Some people have made an effort to explain their pain. Even Cancer, was known to form in some through repressed memories of incest in the body. Scientists have studied related phenomenon such as people whose hands bleed in certain religious settings. Presumably such people, called stigmatics, "are not revealing unconscious memories of being crucified as young children, but rather are demonstrating a psychogenic abnormality that springs from their conscious fixation on the suffering of Christ(Copeland Publishing 1989). Similarly, it is possible the idea, that "one was sexually abused might increase the frequency of some physical symptoms, regardless of whether or not the abuse really occurred"(Peter Bedricks Publishing 1994).
This view of memory has two elements: (1) the accuracy element and (2) the causal element. The reason why this memory is questionable is not because people don't have unpleasant or painful experiences they would rather forget, nor is it claiming that children often experience both wonderful and brutal things for which they have no right or wrong sense for and are incapable of understanding them, much less relating it to others. It is questionable because, (a) one is having problems of functioning as a healthy human being and (b) one remembers being abused as a child therefore, (A) one was abused as a child and (B) the childhood abuse is the cause of one's adulthood problems. There is no evidence that supports the claim that we remember everything that we experience. In fact, there is plenty of evidence to support the claim that it is impossible for us to even recall to all the elements of any given experience. There is no evidence to support the claim that all memories of experiences happened as they remembered to have happened or that they have even happened at all. We can never even say how accurate our memories really are....