Author Topic: selective memory loss & "false memory"  (Read 4041 times)

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selective memory loss & "false memory"
« on: October 10, 2008, 03:16:41 AM »
Hi everyone, i have a problem and really need some help, thank you in advance.

One of my friends forgot an important thing, completely! And he kept on denying what he had done. The thing is kinda unpleasant, which one would like to forget about. i think he has selective memory loss which i want to know the reasons.

He has got another memory problem, i don't know if there is psychology term to describe this, so let's call it "false memory". He has a memory of one positive thing which he never did. This is a tiny thing, but we had an argue. He claimed he can find an evidence, but failed. Actually it was I who had done it and I proved that. He was confused, saying he had a clear memory and was almost sure he did it.

So, is there anybody to tell me why is this happening? Is he having psychology problems? Thanks for any feedback.


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Re: selective memory loss & "false memory"
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2008, 09:33:26 PM »

i dont know enough about the psychology of memory. i do know there is a phenomena called false memory aka confabulation

Quote from: wikipedia
Confabulation, also known as false memory is the confusion of imagination with memory, and/or the confusion of true memories with false memories. Confabulation can result from both organic and psychological causes.

Organic causes

Berlyne (1972) defined confabulation as “...a falsification of memory occurring in clear consciousness in association with an organically derived amnesia.” He distinguished between:

    * “momentary” (or “provoked”) confabulations — fleeting, and invariably provoked by questions probing the subject’s memory – sometimes consisting of “real” memories displaced in their temporal context.
    * “fantastic” (or “spontaneous”) confabulations — characterised by the spontaneous outpouring of irrelevant associations – sometimes bizarre ideas, which may be held with firm conviction.

Patients who have suffered brain damage or lesions, especially to the Prefrontal cortical regions, may have confabulation of memories as a symptom. Patients with Korsakoff's syndrome characteristically confabulate by guessing an answer or imagining an event and then mistaking their guess or imagination for an actual memory. In some cases, confabulation is a function of the brain's chemistry, a mapping of the activation of neurons to brain activity. Confabulation can also occur as a result of damage to the Anterior communicating artery (ACoA), in the Circle of Willis.

Some military agents, such as BZ, and deliriant drugs such as those found in datura, noticeably scopolamine and atropine, may also cause confabulation.

Psychological causes

Bartlett’s studies of remembering are arguably the first concerted attempt to look at memory illusions phenomena. In one experiment, he asked a group of students to read an Indian folktale and then recall that at various time intervals. As well as errors of omission, interestingly he found numerous errors of commission whereby participants had adapted or added to the story to make it more rational or consistent.

In the 1970s a number of researchers and theories started to emphasise what has been called the constructivist view of memory, maintaining that reasoning influences memory, in contrast to the prevailing view at the time which was that memory is essential for proper reasoning. Theorists such as Bransford and Franks noted the significance of personal beliefs and desires, or more technically scripts and schemas, in memory retrieval.

Constructivism has fallen out of fashion recently due to the contention that it is either false or un-testable. Memory is presumably not always reconstructive as the considerable evidence of its veridical quality is testament. Constructivism cannot simply be rephrased as the thesis that memory is not always reproductive. As Reyna and Lloyd point out, this amounts to the claim that memory is sometimes reproductive and sometimes reconstructive; which is unexplanatory and unfalsifiable as any result can be accommodated post hoc. Because of this a number of theories have now been advanced which instead focus on the mechanism by which an essentially accurate memory system can sometimes produce erroneous results. Notably, both source monitoring framework and fuzzy-trace theory purport to both indicate when false memories are likely to occur and give a more detailed explanatory account than either reproductive or constructivist views.

Source monitoring refers to the process by which we discriminate between internally and externally derived memory sources as well as differentiations within the external and external domains: differentiating between two external sources or between internal sources, for instance between what was said and what was thought. The theory postulates that these decisions are made based on the characteristics of memories compared to norms for memories for different sources, such as the proportions of perceptual, contextual, affective and semantic information featured in the encoding of the memory. Under the source monitoring framework false memory is seen as a failure to attribute information to the correct source. This happens when there is insufficient information available to discriminate between different sources (perhaps because of natural deterioration), or when the wrong criterion is used to discriminate. For example a doctor might mistakenly think a patient is on a specific medicine because they were discussing the medicine with a colleague shortly after seeing them.

Fuzzy trace theory is based on the assumption that memory is not stored in unitary form. Instead memories are encoded on a number of levels, from an exact ‘verbatim’ account, to ‘gist’ which represents the overall meaning of the event. False memory effects are usually (but not always) explained as a reliance on gist traces in a situation when verbatim traces are needed. Because of this people may mistakenly recall a memory that only goes along with a vague gist of what happened, rather than the exact course of events. Essentially there are three reasons why people might do this. There is thought to be a general bias towards the use of gist traces in cognition due to their resource efficiency and people will tend to use gist traces when it is thought that they will be adequate to satisfy the demands of the situation. Second, verbatim traces are said to be inherently less stable than gist and decay quicker. Finally, during the course of forgetting memories fragment and gist and verbatim can become independent.
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Re: selective memory loss & "false memory"
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2008, 05:49:43 AM »
Selective memory loss is a form of amnesia, it's a rare side effect of head injuries when the victim loses certain parts of his/her memory. Not much is known because this only results when certain areas of the head are traumatized. Common elements that may be forgotten: relationships, special talents (eg: juggling, whistling, instrumental talents, etc.), living area, abilities in certain areas (eg: a new gymnast forgetting she can not cartwheel yet), and events such as concerts, shows, traumatic events (eg: a death/suicide of a loved one or attempt on one's own life). More research is being done into elements that are forgotten and what areas of the skull must be traumatized to cause SML.


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Re: selective memory loss & "false memory"
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2010, 05:58:29 AM »
It is possible that he has repressed the memory that is considered unfavorable and in its place has put the favorable memory. It may not be that he has actually forgot it but he has repressed it into a part of the brain that he can't retain it consciously. There have been many cases where people have "made up" (for lack of a better term) memories and have actually stored them as one, and will swear that that has actually happened.

Those are my thoughts on it. Hope that helps :)


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