Theories Of False Memory

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False memories
Repressed memories are often recovered in therapy. The issue with treating a repressed memory that was recovered during therapy as contingent for a court case is that there is no way to prove that the therapy did not falsely construct the memory, leading to a false memory. A false memory can be misinterpreted as a repressed memory if the individual, for instance, feels a lot of emotion towards the false memory; “victims may experience ‘denial,’ an unconscious defense against painful or unbearable memories and feelings about the crime” (“How Crime Victims React to Trauma”). However, it is important to note that just because a “memory might be false does not mean that the person is deliberately lying” (Loftus, 1993, p. 525). False memories can be created unintentionally by the unconscious: or another way to explain how a memory can be constructed in therapy and believed to be truly recovered, one can look to false memory theories of “associative activation” and “thematic consistency” (Gallo, 2006, p. 51-53).
Associative activation “refers to the activation of concepts stored in semantic memory due to the processing of other concepts found at the same conceptual level” (Gallo, 2006, p. 51); in other words, one scenario activates another scenario. According to this theory, if the activation of a concept is strong enough it becomes believable, and furthermore, one can begin to believe it happened to them. That is, simple association can trigger a false memory. An

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