Are some people more prone to forming false memories?

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Offline thedoc

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People with better memories may also be more likely to form false memories.

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« Last Edit: 22/11/2013 17:18:18 by _system »



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« Reply #1 on: 08/05/2015 10:03:42 »
People donít re-experience an emotional memory when they just recall it. And itís yet another level further removed from an emotional memory when someone describes their recall of it.

To illustrate these differences with an example, I burned my left index fingertip last week being careless while toasting bread on an infrared oven grill. It wasnít severe pain, and my fingertip has healed.

The pain is still stored with my emotional memory, and is probably why my memory is very clear. I recall the visual details of the grill, how my fingertip looked, the pain I initially felt, and the relief I felt when I held my finger under running cold water.

The researchers introduced factors to try to confuse the subjects about their recall of their emotions, and their verbal descriptions of their recall. The researchers were very sure that confusing the subjectsí thinking-brain recalls and descriptions produced evidence that the subjectsí emotional memories were changed and falsified.

Can you see how far removed the researchers were from studying emotional memories? They didnít demonstrate that they understood where emotional memories were stored because they didnít attempt to engage the subjectsí feeling brain areas.

Letís imagine that the researchers analogously studied my burned fingertip. They would deny that I can accurately retrieve and re-experience my emotional memory of my accident if I initially say that I pushed the kitchen faucet handle all the way in the cold direction, then after repeated questioning, I say that I wasnít sure that the handle was pushed all the way over to Cold.

The problem the researchersí viewpoint created with this study was that they were determined to produce a finding that emotional memories could be falsified. To this end, the study defined the subjectsí recalls of post-9/11 emotions and descriptions of their recalls as emotional memories.

The researchersí strawman definition of emotional memories was simply wrong. Maybe their purposeful error could be overlooked if it was confined to this study.

But it isnít. You can imagine the damage this viewpoint creates when mental health professionals adopt it, and deny their patientsí feelings, experiences, and emotional memories.