Description: Shedding More Light on the Concept of False Theory
Can you trust your memory? Explore the nature of false memories, what they tell us about our basic memory processes, and how they might impact our lives.
Memory is the ability to recover information about various types of past events as well as knowledge. Every individual has to commit to the support of memory for recalling of events, facts as well as processes. The main procedure of formation of memory is seen to include encoding, retaining, storing as well as subsequently recalling information as well as past experiences (Bookbinder et al., 2016). Many cognitive psychologist and researchers have supported the definition of memory as the process of retaining information as well as data over time. Many other researchers have defined it as the ability of individuals to use the experiences for successfully determining the future path. Although, the memories seem to be solid as well as a straightforward sum of our identity and our activities, there are strong evidences that suggest otherwise (Roedieger et al., 2016). Memories seem to be quite complex and are subject to change and is not at all reliable. In this content, the topic of false memories emerges. The assignment would be mainly focusing on the concept of false memories and the ways it can affect the life. It would also help to justify whether one could believe on their memories or not.
A false memory is one of the fabricated as well as the distorted recollection of events that take place in an individual’s life. From surveys, it is found that people usually consider there memories as video recorders that are highly efficient and curate in documentation as well as storing of everything that happens with perfect accuracy as well as clarity. However, researchers have also stated that people can feel completely confident that their memory is accurate but this confidence does not have any guarantee that the particular memory is correct (Brainerd & bookbinder, 2018).A false memory can be defined as the mental experiences, which are mistakenly taken to a veridical representation of the vent from one’s personal past. Memories can become false in different relative ways. This may range from minor ways like one believing that he has last seen the keys in the living room when it was seen by him in the kitchen to that of major ways that may have different impacts and consequences not only for oneself but also for others (Neuschatz et al., 2017).
Can We Trust Our Memory?
Therefore, when there arises a question that can we really trust our memories, the answer becomes quite difficult. The entire human civilisation works and operates on human memory besides the activity of storing information with the help of technology. Therefore, every human has to be confident enough to trust their memories and intuitions to take decisions and develop work plans. However, one cannot trust the memory to such an extent that it makes him or her completely dedicate their decisions to the foundations of the memory (Zhang et al., 2017). In order to make the sentences easier, one can say that trusting the memory should not extend to potential loss or harm of any object or person or other living beings. While human beings experience memory failures from one time to another time, false memories are unique and different in a way as they represent a distinct collection of something that actually did not take place (Liu et al., 2014). False memories is not about forgetting or mixing up details of things that human beings experience. It is mainly about remembering instances that the individuals did not experience in the first place.
It might arise a question as what contributes the formation of false memories. Researchers have stated that memories are not exactly like the cameras that are seen to preserve every moments of lives in perfect details as that has actually happened in the reality. The main fact is that it is more like a collage that are pieced together which may be sometimes be associated crudely with the occasional embellishment as well as even outright fabrication.
Inaccurate perception is one cause of false memories. It is seen that there are many cases when human beings fail to see things that are there and even see things that are not there. False memories scan actually be born when the information is not encoded correctly in the first place itself (Warren et al, 2014). When a human being witnesses the accident, he may not have clear view of the entire moments of the accidents. Recounting such events may become difficult, as they did not see every detail of the accidents that makes their minds feel with gaols. Therefore, the mind of the person ma tends to fill in the gaps thereby recreating and event that might not match with the event that took place in the reality.
It is true that old memories as well as new experience are often seen to compete with newer information. This is mainly seen to result in modification of the newer memories and in other cases, newer information makes it difficult to remember older information. Often while recovering older information, holes or gaps are instilled in the recollection procedure where the minds tend to fill in the gaps (Bamatraf et al., 2015). These gaps are mainly filled by current knowledge as well as different beliefs and expectation. In addition, another cause may result in false memories. This has been proved through the researchers conducted by Loftus in the year 197. Sometimes accurate information may indeed be mixed with incorrect information that is then seen to distort the memories of the individuals of that even. Misinformation resulting in false beliefs is indeed seen to have many negative consequences. One of the most severe potential impact of the misinformation effect takes place in the area of criminal justice. Here, mistakes are seen to literally mean the differences between the life and death. Often false recollections during the interrogation process would lead to the cause of false convictions (Kaplan et al., 2016).
Contribution of Factors to False Memories
Misattribution may also result in the occurrence of false beliefs. This mainly involves the combining of the elements of the different cents together that result in the formation of one cohesive story. Misremembering the source from where the particular piece of information id obtained or even recalling imagined events from the childhood and thereby believing them to be real also results in false memories. Often situations have been observed where individuals while narrating the incidents during a recent vacation may relate the incidents with another vacation that took place many years ago (Brainer et al., 2018).
It is mainly seen that while forming memory, individuals not always form a memory that focus on every minute details of the event but rather on the overall idea about what had happened. This theory is of the opinion that while some people are seen to from verbatim traces others are seen to make gist traced. Many a times it is seen that individuals recollect information that does not accurately reflect what had actually happened in the reality (Tewolde et al., 2018). These biased interpretations of events are seen to lead to false memories of the original memories. Therefore, from the above methods that show how original memories can be distorted, one can easily conclude that one cannot fully trust on memories as they might not understand that unintentionally and involuntarily they are falling prey of false memories.
One important research has shown that false memories affect the eating habits of many individuals. At first the researchers in their study has successfully created a false belief that they had become ill only after eating egg salad as a child. Afterwards the participants were given four different types of salad and egg salad was found to be one of them. Those whole got influenced by the false memory were seen to provide lower ratings in comparisons to those people who did not develop any false belief. Four months later, they were also seen to show the same avoidance of egg sad. These showed that false memories cannot only be created easily through suggestions but can also have massive impact of behaviours (Zhang, Gross & Hayne, 2017). Not only that, false memories are also seen to impact on the decisions that people make in their end of life but also on the type of treatment they want, the hind of service and care they want to receive as well as whether they want or do not want to rescue the interventions that they need to be performed. A living will is a legal document that provides different types of information about the type of treatment, interventions as well as care that a person does or does not want to have when he or she become severely ill. However such will which are made at one point of life much before might not match with the wishes of patients who are nearing the end of life stage. Researchers have conducted interviews about the end of life choices to patients over 65 years old they want to make like whether they would have CPR, tube feeding and others along with their rationale of doing so (Wojsik et al., 2018). However, when the same patients were asked in an interview about the choices they made one year back, about one third of them were seen to fail to recollect properly and had changed their wishes over the course of years. It was a surprise to see that about 75% of the population falsely remembered their original views about their choices on the end of life treatments. This effect of false memory as well as false remembering had initiated an urgency to consider the main motive of making living will. This is giving hard time to researchers in healthcare as well.
False memories are indeed seen to have dramatic as well as disturbing impact on the life of people. One case study shows that a Wisconsin woman had taken help of a psychiatrist. The later used a number of different methods by which she developed a number of repressed memories of different types of traumatic events. These suggestive methods used by the expert made her convinced that she had been raped, made to eat babies was involved in a cult and many others. It was later realised by the woman that all these were false and had been implanted by the expert that resulted her to lodge a lawsuit of $2.4 million dollar where the judgement was in her favour. False memories are also seen to have fatal consequences (Davies et al., 2017). In one of the case, it was seen that a mother had dropped her child at the backseat of the care and went to work that morning. By the time, she had realised her mistake, her child had died due to hyperthermia. It might seem to be a case of child neglect in the first stance, but it is not so/ in about 38% of the cases, the accused are seen to develop false memories where they believe that they have drooped their child to day cares when no such realities have happened. In the case study of Balfour, it was seen that the woman had dropped her husband at work but this led her to believe that she had drooped her son to the babysitter. Actually, she had developed a false memory of leaving her child to baby care when she had actually left her at the backseat of the car (Newman et al., 2015).
From the above discussions, it actually becomes clear that false memories is not a disorder but can happen to anyone at anytime. Therefore, memories cannot be always trusted as individuals may not have ideas as when they are becoming vulnerable to develop false memories. It have many fatal consequences in life and therefore, individuals need to be very careful about the decisions they take on the basis of their memory so that potential do not occur.
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