Source Amnesia

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Source Amnesia
I typically try to stay away from taking too much pain medication. I heard once that taking too much pain medication can cause damage to your liver or kidneys. I learned this from my husband shortly after we were married. I was surprised to learn this, so I asked him where he heard it from. He admitted that his mother had taught him this information. So, one day, out of pure curiosity, I asked his mother how she learned about the pain medication causing damage to our vital body organs, and she confessed that she could not remember how she learned about this incredible information, only that she had heard it at some point in her life and has passed it down to those she loves the most.

The phenomenon of not remembering where a person has learned something is one of the most common happenstances, and is known as “source amnesia.” Defined by Dictionary.com, source amnesia is memory loss that makes it impossible to recall the origin of the memory of any given event. Another website sums up the definition into modern day language by stating that “basically, source amnesia is where you hear information that is familiar and you have heard it before but you cannot remember where you heard that information from. For example, you heard the stereotype that British people have bad teeth, but then you do not recall where you got your sources” (theneuron.wetpaint.com). Source amnesia is part of a person’s memory that is conscious and intentional and probably due to the disconnect between semantic and episodic memory (Tulving). Because of the way the human brain works, repetition becomes one of the most effective ways to emphasize and idea over time…and may lose the connection to how it was learned… (www.newlibrarianship.org). In some instances, facts may be forgotten because of simple forgetfulness. In other cases, people have repeated the story either in their minds or verbally so many times with so much emphasis that they begin to believe this fictitious...
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