False Memory Syndrome

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False Memory Syndrome is a condition in which a memory of a traumatic experience is falsely believed to be true, having an impact on a person’s identity and relationships (Colman, 2008). While False Memory Syndrome can result in the recollection of any sort of traumatic experience from abduction by aliens to abuse by parental figures in childhood, it is most commonly as a result of sexual abuse (Santos & Costa, 2016). In fact, well-known psychologist Jean Piaget lived for several years with a false memory of his own. When Piaget was two years old, his nurse conjured up a story of how a man attempted to kidnap him, and the nurse protected him, putting herself in danger. Hearing the story growing up, it became a very real, very vivid memory for …show more content…
The mechanism in which memories are formed, including mental images, language, and intelligence, is not developed at such a young age as two or three years old, according to Piaget (2013), and because of this, any supposed memories prior to that young age are actually comprised of made-up stories and “chaotic” reconstructions. These stories and reconstructions can be influenced by other individuals; however, the complication of this is that real memories can also be formed by way of recounting of stories by other people (Piaget, 2013). Therapist suggestiveness may also lead to the generation of false memories. Through recovered-memory therapy, therapists work to surface certain memories, but studies show that an increased level of suggestiveness by the therapist may be associated with an increased prevalence of False Memory Syndrome (B. Myers, J. Myers, Herndon, Broszkiewics, & Tar, 2015). While diagnosis of False Memory Syndrome is difficult, there is a lot of hesitation to acknowledge the existence of the syndrome for fear of losing trust between patient and therapist, in addition to potentially causing damage to the individual. Despite this however, studies show that the existence of False Memory Syndrome in maltreated children is very real, and many believe in a dire need to identify and treat it.
False Memory Syndrome

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