False Memories

Topics: Child abuse, False memory syndrome, Memory Pages: 4 (1297 words) Published: March 26, 2007
False Memories:
False memories are memories of events or situations that did not, in fact, occur. These recollections of past events are unintentionally false. Often times, it may result from a questioned phrased differently, or a story told often enough that the person begins to believe that it actually happened recalling these events in depth. When asked what happened, they will be able to give vivid descriptions and details of what they remember occurred; however, in reality, these events never truly happened. Reality monitoring is used to help determine what is real from what someone may have just imagined happened. Also included in false memory is the concept of source amnesia. This occurs when one is able to remember the events or information correctly but unable to identify the source of where the information came from correctly. False memories can have a large impact on our lives and must be looked at when addressing the following question:

1. How do false memories have the potential for serious damage in our social and legal systems? This review of false memories focuses on this question.
How do False Memories Have the Potential for Serious
Damage in our Social and Legal Systems?
A social system is defined as a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to accomplish common goals or the people in a society considered as a system organized by a characteristic pattern of relationships. One such social system that can be affected by false memory is the family. Often times, after a child has been sexually abused they may go into a state of denial. "Denial is a stabilizing force, and a substantial amount of energy is devoted to denying both personal crises and public crises" (Rubin, 1996, 447). The False Memory Syndrome Foundation has been recently focusing their attention to the issue of delayed memories of childhood sexual abuse. False memory syndrome is a so called condition that has been characterized as a...

References: Kosslyn, Stephen M.& Rosenberg, Robin S. (2006). Fact, Fiction, and Forgetting: When
Memory Goes Wrong. Psychology in Context, 3rd Edition, 307-310.
Loftus, E. (2003). Memory in Canadian Courts of Law. Canadian Psychology, 44(3), 207-212. Retrieved Wednesday, February 21, 2007 from the PsycARTICLES database.
Porter, S., Campbell, M., Birt, A., & Woodworth, M. (2003). We Said, She Said: A
Response to Loftus (2003). Canadian Psychology, 44(3), 213-215. Retrieved Wednesday, February 21, 2007 from the PsycARTICLES database.
Rubin, L. (1996). Childhood sexual abuse: False accusations of 'false memory '?. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 27(5), 447-451. Retrieved Wednesday, February 21, 2007 from the PsycARTICLES database.
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