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Fasle memory

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Fasle memory

Fasle Memory

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 of traumatic events

too terrible to want to remember. 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. And, both

before and after the repressed memory is remembered, it causes physical and

mental disorders in a person.

This view of memory has two elements: (1) the accuracy element and (2) the

causal element. The reason this model 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 conceptual or linguistic framework and hence

are incapable of understanding them, much less relating it to others. It is

questionable because this model maintains that because (a) one is having

problems of functioning as a healthy human being and (b) one remembers being

abused as a child that 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 attend to all the perceptual

elements of any given experience, much less to recall them all. 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. And

there is no evidence to support the claim that subjective certainty about

the accuracy of memories or the vividness of memories significantly

correlates with accuracy. Finally, the claim of a causal connection between

abuse and health or behavior does not warrant concluding that ill health,

mental or physical, is a 'sign' of having been abused.

This model is the basis for a number of pseudoscientific works on child

abuse by self-proclaimed experts such as Ellen Bass, E. Sue Blum, Laura

Davis, Beverly Engel, Beverly Holman, Wendy Maltz and Mary Jane Williams.

Through communal reinforcement many empirically unsupported notions,

including the claim that about half of all women have been sexually abused,

get treated as a 'fact' by many people. Psychologist Carol Tavris writes

In what can only be called an incestuous arrangement, the authors of these

books all rely on one another's work as supporting evidence for their own;

they all recommend one another's books to their readers. If one of them

comes up with a concocted statistic--such as "more than half of all women

survivors of childhood sexual trauma "-- the numbers are traded like

baseball cards, reprinted in every book and eventually enshrined as fact.

Thus the cycle of misinformation, faulty statistics and unvalidated

assertions maintains itself. (Tavris, 1993)

Here are a few of the unproved, unscientifically researched notions that

are being bandied around by these child abuse experts: One, if you doubt

that you were abused as a child or think that it might be your imagination,

this is a sign of 'post-incest syndrome'. Two, if you can not remember any

specific instances of being abused, but still have a feeling that something

abusive happened to you, 'it probably did'. Three, when a person can not

remember his or her childhood or have very fuzzy memories, 'incest must

always be considered as a possibility'. And four, 'If you have any suspicion

at all, if you have any memory, no matter how vague, it probably really

happened. It is far more likely that you are blocking the memories, denying

it happened'.

There have been many symptoms suggested as indicators of past abuse. These

symptoms range from headaches to irritable bowls. In fact, one psychologist

compiled a list of over 900 different symptoms that had been presented as

proof of a history of abuse. When he reviewed the professional literature,

he found that not one of the symptoms could be shown to be an inclusive

indication of a history of abuse. Given the lack of consistent scientific

evidence, therapists must be careful in declaring that abuse has infact

occurred. (London, 1995)

Whole industries have been built up out of the hysteria that inevitably

accompanies charges of the sexual abuse of children. Therapists who are

supposed to help children recover from the trauma of the abuse are hired to

interrogate the child, in order to find out if they have been abused. But

all too often the therapist suggests the abuse to the child and the child

has 'memories' of being abused, but no rational person should find a parent

or caretaker guilty on the basis of such tainted testimony.

Increasingly throughout the continent, grown children under going

therapeutic programs have come to believe that they suffer from "repressed

memories" of incest and sexual abuse. While some reports of incest and

sexual abuse are surely true, these decade delayed memories are too often

the result of False Memory Syndrome caused by a disastrous "therapeutic"

program. False Memory Syndrome has a devastating effect on the victim and

typically produces a continuing dependency on the very program that creates

the syndrome. False Memory Syndrome proceeds to destroy the psychological

well being not only of the primary victim but through false accusations of

incest and sexual abuse other members of the primary victim's family. The

American Medical Association considers recovered memories of childhood

sexual abuse to be of uncertain authenticity, which should be subject to

external verification. The use of recovered memories is fraught with

problems of potential misapplication.

The dangers of this model are apparent: not only are false memories treated as real memories, but real memories of real abuse may be treated as false memories and may provide real abusers with a believable defense. In the end,no one benefits from encouraging a belief in memory which is unfounded.

Whatever the theory of memory one advocates, if it does not entail examining

corroborating evidence and attempting to independently verify claims of

recollected abuse, it is a theory which will cause more harm than good.

Carl Jung, an early Freudian disciple and later heretic, extended this

model of memory by adding another area of repressed memories to the

unconscious mind, an area that was not based on individual past experiences

at all: the "collective" unconscious. The collective unconscious is the

repository for acts and mental patterns shared either by members of a

culture or universally by all humans. Under certain conditions these

manifest themselves as archetype: images, patterns and symbols, that are

often seen in dreams or fantasies and that appear as themes in mythology,

religion and fairy tales. The Archetype of the Archetype Model can be traced

back to Plato's various beliefs about the ...

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Keywords: false memory, false memory ocd, false memory syndrome, false memory deepwoken, false memory psychology, false memory definition, false memory examples, false memory syndrome foundation

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