False Memory

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This essay provides a review on the peculiar phenomenon of false memory (FM) and its implications in the context of recovered memories. Whilst the precise definition of a false memory is subject to contention in the literature (Pezdek & Lam, 2007), the author defines FM as the memory of an event that was non-veridical, that is, not objectively true (Gleaves; scientist). It is distinct from retrieval failures, omission failures or forgetfulness – the absence of a memory (Gleaves). False memories are diverse in their presentation and implications; some may be innocuous (eg., ) whilst others can bring with them signifigant implications, such as in the context of “recovered memories” – heavily emotional memories that had previously been supprsesed…show more content…
Two key contemporary explanations for false memory are discussed; the source monitoring framework (SMF) and fuzzy-trace theory. This provides a glimpse at how false memories might occur and more broadly assist in the understanding of the cognitive underpinnings of memory. This is followed by an overview of recent neurological studies to explore the physiological process behind FM. The essay will conclude with a summary of the implications of FM in the context of repressed memories and considerations for further…show more content…
One approach to explaining FM is the source monitoring framework (SMF; reference). It purports that mental experiences are attributed to memory by ongoing judgment processes (Johnson, 1993). False memory might then be explained by errors in source monitoring. Such errors include; a disruption to perceptual processes such as restricted encoding of the source information or by disturbed judgment processes. The SMF insinuates that: qualitative characteristics of an experience - such as emotional details, the embeddedness of the experience, a set of flexible criteria and ones own social beliefs can distort memory. Some of these processes are rapid and non-deliberate, and relate directly to heuristic judgements such as the match-to-average heuristic. Others are deliberate and more slowly processed systematic judgements. The cognitive processes that are involved in evaluating memories take place in the pre-frontal cortices; heuristic judgments are thought to occur in the right PFC, whilst systematic judgments occur in left PFC (Mitchell, Johnson, Raye & Greene,

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