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Recovered Memories

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By theromanjew
Words 407
Pages 2
Following the recent sensation of using therapy to recover memories from one’s past, there is increasing concern over whether or not these “recovered” memories are indeed genuine. While certain memory recovering procedures appear to be designed to help a patient relax and serve to draw out old memories, often times, patients can be so eager to recover some memory from their past that they in fact create a false illusion in their head of an event in order to help better explain an unknown part of their past. Just because an event described appears and sounds genuine, does not mean that the event has actually occurred. While the patient can be the cause for creating a false memory so too can the therapist. Suggestive influences are likely to enhance the plausibility of a memory in the mind of a patient. It is easy to be lead to a conclusion by someone who you’re trusting to help you find answers. Suggestive procedures play a role in outcomes for other experiments and it is no different when conducting experiments about false memories. Persuasive information from the media can also play a role in the minds of people, as they all believe that if they’re hearing or reading about recovered memories on the television or radio than it is possible they might have some as well. Another concern about the validity of recovered memories is the potential of false testimony from patients, as they may not want to share what actually happened. This would likely stem from some sort of traumatic event that the therapy serves as a cue to recover.
While recovered memories may not always be accurate there is also concern over the ethics on how they are obtained. If a recovered memory is traumatic but it in fact did not occur, then the person with the memory is worse off than before as they will have a hard time getting the image out of their head and likely will convince themselves that the memory did in fact happen. Conversely if the recovered memory did occur, it is likely not in the patient’s best interest to have that memory recovered anyways, especially if its in a past traumatic event and they have since moved on with their lives. While recovered memories may lead the way to learning more about memories and ourselves we can no longer recall, there is still much uncertainty behind the process and results.

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