Archives - Psychology: Page 16
Author: paul carson (Thu Jul 06, 2006 1:52 am)
Title: The Problem with Memories
Psychologist began to demonstrate the myriad ways in which memories can and do go wrong not only when we forget, but also when we incorporate distorted or false information. At the University of California at Irvine. Elizabeth Loftus conducted an important series of studies in the 1990’s in response to a wave of “recovered memory” child abuse cases, showing that false memories could be induced in research subjects. In 1995, researches at Washington University in St. Louis demonstrated that people who were read a list of words like bed., rest, awake, dream, wake and slumber, when tested later, would often definitively remember hearing the word sleep. Research into post-traumatic stress disorder found that post traumatic syndrome sufferers can be tortured by distorted memories of traumatic events. All of this work converges today on an ominous question: How is it we can be fooled by memories that are simply wrong? The answer probably lies not necessarily in the content of our memories but in the experience of reassembling and recalling them.
grow and be kind
I would agree, the answer surely lies in how we reassemble and recall our memories. We always have to have an answer don't we? If the police are questioning us, we feel like we can't let them down. We rack our brains searching in vain for the memory that will provide the necessary information. This ultimately leads to distorted and even fabricated memories. It is very simple to demonstrate how our memories become problematic, but very difficult, and I'd say impossible to provide an explanation for this problem. My opinion is, as I said, we always want to have an answer. Humans want to feel knowledgable and intelligent. Even with the child abuse cases this holds true. The child wants only to please the adults, the police, the authority figures. How could it be possible for the child to simply forget everything? It just couldn't be true, and so we question them until they believe it must have happened too. Our brains can't hold every memory ever experienced. When we begin to release old memories, we sometimes make up new ones to make us feel assured that we do indeed remember everything. This can be to please others, or simply to please ourselves.