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A false memory is any incident that a person clearly remembers but that either did not happen or did not happen the way the person remembers it. False memories have been the subject of much controversy in the fields of psychiatry and psychology.
The Creation of Memories::
Many people think of memory as an exact recording of information, but memory is highly suggestible. For memories to be encoded into long-term memory, they must be frequently rehearsed. A number of factors can cause memories to be inaccurately coded. For example, when a parent repeats a memory to a child with a minor detail added, the child may remember the detail as having occurred, even when it did not. When we incorrectly recall information for a test, we are experiencing false memories. However, the best-known example of a false memory is a recovered memory.
False memory syndrome is not recognized by the DSM-IV as a diagnosis, but has been documented and examined in several scientific studies. The repressed memory phenomenon has waned in recent years, though some psychotherapists still believe that repressed memories can be recovered, and some still use techniques to help their clients recover these memories. In a few cases, clinicians have been sued for creating false memories in their clients.
Colman, A. M. (2006). Oxford dictionary of psychology. New York, NY: Oxford
Loftus, E. F. (n.d.). Creating false memories. Retrieved from
April 29th, 2013
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