Memory is an activity or faculty within the Human Mind, which purpose is encoding, decoding, storing, and retrieving of information learned over time. The Declarative mind is the portion of human brain responsible for holding facts and events of previous occurrences. However, challenges of having a distorted recollection of events may transpire following various factors. The fabricated collection of events is termed as False Memory Syndrome. The report purposes to describe in detail False Memory Syndrome, its causes, impacts, and approaches to prevent and manage such a fabrication.
False Memory Syndrome
According to Lo, June, and Chee (659), false memory is a case when an individual mental expertise represents an experience that cannot be verified. The condition is characterized by false memory, which an individual may have and firmly believe is true. Mendez and Fras (493) indicate that false memory syndrome crops out from different reasons and develops over time. It impacts social behavior, cognition, and interactions of affected parties.
False memory syndrome affects people of all ages. However, it is more prominent among adults and individuals of advanced age. In addition to this, the syndrome affects both males and females equally; hence, significant aspects of their decision, lifestyles, eating habits, and interactions are altered due to false memory syndrome. According to Yu and Cao (13), people suffering from such a problem may end up enacting decisions that are not beneficial to them and have detrimental effects on them and other people.
Causes of False Memory Syndrome
False memory may result from various happenings that implant events in human mind. Some of the factors attributed to false memory syndrome are discussed below:
The reception of invalid information by people is one of the known factors that may result in false memory syndrome. According to Lo, June, and Chee (662), people who may have been given incorrect information concerning a specific aspect and believe the same is true, may suffer from the syndrome. Consider an event of a therapist telling a patient that the intake of one particular drug may lower or negatively affect their health. The information may or may not be true, but the patient is deemed to take the information as accurate and believe the same. As such, it is hard to convince the patient that the information is false, since they have already gained the knowledge from a specialist and believe that the same is true regardless of other facts.
Misattribution refers to the event of mixing different information where one talks about concept B with the knowledge of concept A. As such, misattribution of information may result in false memory syndrome since the knowledge gained is not appropriate and may affect the experience acquired by the individual.
Learning and understanding various concepts varies between individuals. If one is determined about multiple ideas from unrealizable sources, information acquired may vary from the correct one. According to Mendez and Fras (493), false memory syndrome, therefore, may result from knowledge that people gain over time. The information gap existing between false information and the actual information may result in the syndrome and negatively affect the individual.
Yu and Cao (13) explain that emotions affect knowledge and information gained and learned over time. If a person is emotionally-charged or has had an accident, an argument, or a medical emergency, the individual’s memory might be havocked. It is evident that some experiences may improve knowledge retention and increase information memorability. However, some events may result in mistaken memories that may not be efficient or might be false. According to Lo, June, and Chee (670), taunting and scary emotions are known to cause mistaken memories and hallucinations while happy moments result in improved information retention.
An inference is a reached conclusion based on the individual’s reasoning and evidence available to support the same. Information that one has heard or read over time may interfere with the overall inferences that these people make on various concepts. False memory syndrome may arise following assumptions made by individuals supported by faulty evidence. Moreover, if information required to make an assumption is missing in a person’s mind, the beliefs and expectations of such an individual may, thus, affect the person’s arguments and knowledge.
It is arguable that people believe what they see and hear. However, individual perception may not be perfect, and sometimes people see things, which are not true either due to fatigue, stress, hunger or other factors. As such, false memory may result from encoded information in mind which is inaccurate, but correctly recorded in memory. At times, recounting what happened in an event is complicated. Therefore, the brain relies on what was encoded in mind, regardless of its validity.
Consequences of False Memory Syndrome
Lifetime Negative Chooses
Due to misappropriation of information, it is notable that decisions made based on this information may not be adequately guided (Alan 13). For example, individuals may opt to purchase a home with all the savings they have had in their lifetime since they misread the information concerning their financial accounts. As such, the individual may face lifelong regrets owing to the purchase undertaken by misappropriated information.
Changes in Behavior
It is important to note that False Memory Syndrome affects how people interact and behave with their peers and relatives. On the less adverse cases, inappropriate memories may lead to disagreements among people following arguments on the information discussed. On the adverse circumstances, false accusations leading to incrimination and conviction of people is also evident. According to Lo, June, and Chee (670), false memory may result to inaccurate prosecution of individuals. Notably, such people might face crime charges following perpetration of felonies, which include sexual abuse.
According to Lo, June, and Chee (671), evidence suggests that various people affected by False Memory Syndrome face the challenge of taking some meals. Individuals are convinced that certain types of meals are not useful or has negative impacts on their bodies. A perfect example include people who grow with the knowledge that egg salad is not healthy; even at older ages, such persons refuse to eat meals with egg salad.
Prevention and Management of False Memory Syndrome
Prevention is the most appropriate strategy that should be utilized towards reducing impacts of False Memory Syndrome. According to Mendez and Fras (494), it is, however, difficult to define policies that can be employed to ensure that individuals are protected from adverse effects. The style engaged may differ since the causative agents are also different. People affected by trauma arising from past lifetime experiences should adopt preventive measures such as undertaking sessions with psychologists and ensuring that they understand and accept the outcomes of such incidents. Acceptance would help rid any doubts and expectations thereby shielding such victims from relapse of the false memory syndrome. However, for other cases, re-reading through information, concentrating more, engaging in practicing activities to retain information and incorporating knowledge in small bits would be the best approach towards preventing likelihood of false memory syndrome occurrence.
Notably, one of the most appropriate measures to incorporate in management of False Memory Syndrome would be visits to a psychologist. The condition may be fully diagnosed and identified by a psychologist. Therefore, strategies can be laid out for natural management of the situation. According to Yu and Cao (13), the professionals have a deeper understanding of human mind, how it works, and the different ways towards manipulating the same to reduce issues related to False Memory Syndrome. Lo, June, and Chee (671) suggest that sleeping for about six to eight hours for older adults improves memory and trims false memory syndrome effects.
The discussion has unraveled that memory is an activity or faculty within the human mind, which purpose is encoding, decoding, storing and retrieving information learned over time. False memory is an experience where an individual mental expertise represents an experience that cannot be verified. Re-reading information, concentrating more, engaging in practicing activities to retain information, and incorporating knowledge in small bits are the best possible steps towards preventing false memory syndrome. The best preventive measures would entail engaging in sessions with psychologists. The patients should understand and accept outcomes of such incidents.
Alan. Human memory: Theory and practice. Psychology Press, 2007, p.13.
Lo, June and Chee. “Sleep reduces false memory in healthy older adults.” Sleep 37.4, 2014, pp.655-671.
Mendez and Fras. “The false memory syndrome: Experimental studies and comparison to confabulations.” Medical hypotheses 76.4, 2011, pp.492-496. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3143501/pdf/nihms310330.pdf Accessed 1 Nov. 2017.
Yu and Cao. “The Susceptibility of Adaptive Memory to False Memory in Survival Processing.” Journal of Nanyang Normal University 11, 2014, p.13.