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Cognitive Psychology: False Memories - Research Paper Example

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False Memories The study of cognition and cognitive therapy has been a popular field in psychology. It focuses on the thought processes, which underlie behavior. This includes the information processing models and forms of memory. Memories are stored and encoded in a variety of different ways…
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Cognitive Psychology: False Memories
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Download file to see previous pages There are a couple theories, which have been used to try to explain the idea behind the implanting of false memories into one’s cognitions. Constructivism is defined as finding meaning through the experience, rather than by the actual even itself. Therefore, since the actual encoding of the information comes from what is understood rather than the physical event, it is possible that information could be encoded in the form of a false memory. Schema theory focused on the encoding of erroneous memory in which the passing and integration of everyday events, people and places could come together to form false memories based on generic details. The source-monitoring framework looked at the thought processes in which the implantation of a false memory would occur. What would occur is that memories that are degraded and contain some truth and fiction would come together to form something that never occurred. This could also occur in the context of confusing a dream with reality (Brainerd, & Reyna, 2005). Fuzzy-trace theory is also another popular cognitive theory, which is used to describe false memories. It integrates external modes of cognition such as emotion and judgment in how they play a role in the manipulation of memory. There are two dual processes in memory, which occur at the same time. Verbatim traces are memories in which the direct, literal meaning of the memory is stored. Gist traces are memories in which the general meaning of the memory is preserved. This dual memory process can cause discrepancies and confusion in memory due to the fact that the parallel processes occur at the same time (Brainerd, & Reyna, 2002). One of the ways in which this theory has been put into application has been through hypnosis. Hypnosis is a state in which a person is subjective to persuasion and unlocks the secrets of the unconscious. This is used in a wide variety of counseling techniques, most notably starting in psychoanalysis with Sigmund Freud. He specifically dealt in the field of trauma and came up with the defense mechanism of repression. In order to get the client to bring the memory up into the consciousness, he would often hypnotize them in attempt to have the memory surface. In recent developments in the theory of hypnotism, ideas and thoughts are implanted into the unconsciousness. This is possible due to the fact that the person can act on them because it is not going directly into their consciousness. Therefore, in the case of a false memory, they would never remember where the memory originated. They would only remember the details of the false memory. No scientific evidence has been able to support the validity and reliability behind hypnosis (Ofshe, & Watters, 1994) Another important popular construct under which false memories can exist is within dreams. Dreams are what Freud termed, “the royal road to the unconscious”. The purpose of dreams is still yet unknown, but many psychologists believe that it is due to the fact that the brain is trying to process and integrate information from the previous day into consciousness. There is the literal interpretation of the dream and then there is the meaning behind the dream. In some instances, dreams are often so real that they are thought to have already occurred. This warping of the memory can take place as the result of problems in encoding. It is also proven that a lack of sleep leads to a hindrance in cognitive ability, which again can lead to hallucinations in which ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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