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Memory is the mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experiences A repressed memory is one that is retained in the sub conscious mind where one is not aware of it but where it can still affect both conscious thoughts and behavior When memory is distorted or confabulated the result can be what has been called the False Memory Syndrome a condition in which a persons identity and interpersonal relationships are entered around a memory of traumatic experience which is objectively false but in which the person strongly believes Note that the syndrome is not characterized by false memories as such We all have memories that are inaccurate Rather the syndrome may be diagnosed when the memory is so deeply ingrained that it orients the individuals entire personality and lifestyle in turn disrupting all sorts of other adaptive behaviors The analogy to personality disorder is intentional False memory syndrome is especially destructive because the person assiduously avoids confrontation with any evidence that might challenge the memory Thus it takes on a life of its own encapsulated and resistant to correction The person may become so focused on the memory that he or she may be effectively distracted from coping with real problems in his or her life -- John F Kihlstrom PhD There are many models which try to explain how memory works Nevertheless we do not know exactly how memory works One of the most questionable models of memory is the one which assumes that every experience a person has had is recorded in memory and that some of these memories are of traumatic events too terrible to want to remember These terrible memories are locked away in the sub conscious mind ie repressed only to be remembered in adulthood when some triggering event opens the door to the unconscious And both before and after the repressed memory is remembered it causes physical and mental disorders in a person Some people have made
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