Helpful: Psychological Trauma and Court Cases Essay

Submitted By patbrogan
Words: 1053
Pages: 5

Patrick Brogan
Due: 11/26/12
RPW 110/ Psych 101
Can It Be Repressed? Repressed memory is not only a sore subject but also a controversy. A repressed memory is a memory that has been dissociated from awareness. A repressed memory could also be a memory that has been repressed without dissociation in a process called motivated forgetting. In motivated forgetting memories are blocked out due to their painful or traumatic nature. The issue with repressed memory is the fact that they are not recalled for such a long period of time, which causes them to labeled as inaccurate. Repressed memories are sometimes the source of serious court cases, which are usually hard fought due to the nature and creditability of the memories. Although repressed memories are considered inaccurate to some, I for one believe that they exist due to convincing stories and psychological data. Some events in one’s life can be so traumatic, that the memory of the event is blocked out. A traumatic event can be anything from being in a car accident to being raped. These events are forgotten, or blocked out, by a process known as motivated forgetting. Horrific events like, for example, being raped would be blocked out because it is an event that caused someone a lot of pain both psychically and mentally. The shear memory of being raped could cause someone to be extremely unstable and nervous, and would perhaps cause the victim to be unable to live a normal life. Due to these circumstances, a traumatic event like being raped would be repressed, but this repressed memory could at some point in the future be recalled. This recall can be triggered from things as simple as a smell or sound that holds meaning with the traumatic event. Repressed memories are often recalled during therapy sessions. The recall of a traumatic event during therapy, which was once blocked out, could just be due to the constant interrogating and questioning that a patient might go through while in therapy. This constant questioning could possibly cause a patient to inaccurately remember certain memories. Due to decay theory, in which memories dissociate over time, some repressed memories might not still be fully intact. A patient might then unconsciously use a process known as shaping to add details to a memory that was once repressed, thus creating an inaccurate recall of that memory. A repressed memory that is recalled that is as serious as something such as rape, usually finds its way into a court room. In 1996 the U.S. District court started to allow repressed memories as a source of evidence. Multiple criminal cases have been filed based upon repressed memories being recalled, most of them are about rape. Believe it or not these repressed memories are respected enough that people have been convicted of crimes, such as rape. The major flaw of repressed memories is the fact that there is hardly any way to prove they are accurate and true. Conditioning and repressed memories are very often confused with one another due to the effect they have on people. Conditioning is the process of providing a stimulus in order to get a certain response. Jordan spoke of how he was bit by a dog and because of this he is now afraid of them and feels extremely nervous when around them. This would not be an example of a repressed memory because he knows why he feels the way he does about dogs and it is directly correlated to him being bit. If this experience where to be a repressed memory it would had to have happened further back in his childhood and would have to subconsciously affect him. An example of being subconsciously affected would be if every time he heard a dog bark he would become paranoid and nervous, but would have no idea why he was having those feelings. The way Jordan described the incident would be seen as a form of conditioning because he clearly remembers that he was bit by a dog and that is the sole reason why he is afraid of dogs to