What is False memory Syndrome definition?

False Memory - Psychology

The allegations that Woody Allen sexually assaulted his daughter Dylan were first raised and investigated in 1993. In May of that year, the New Yorker published a report by Lawrence Wright entitled ‘Remembering Satan’. This concerned an investigation of prolonged and horrific abuse in a Satanic cult which had to be abandoned after it became apparent that the detectives had heavily manipulated the witnesses and their testimonies. So muddled was the case that it was no longer certain the cult even existed. But as for the author of the piece, he had no doubts. To him, it was self-evident that the entire case had been fabricated by the police – the cult, the crimes, everything – with such zeal as to actually convince individuals that they could remember suffering abuse that had never taken place. What’s more, Wright declared that this was the tip of the iceberg, as thousands of people throughout the country were accused of crimes on the basis of recovered memories, at least some of which were ‘certainly false’.

Asked by clinical psychiatrist and sexual abuse specialist Judith Herman – whom he had consulted for his story, but neglected to quote – how many cases of this supposed epidemic he actually knew of, Wright replied: just one. The cult case. But media have an uncanny ability to extrapolate entire phenomena and trends from isolated incidents, and so quickly a wave of panic started to mount, and a name was given to the new affliction that swept not just America but other English-speaking nations as well: ‘False Memory Syndrome’. And along with the professional, clinical-sounding, dispassionate label, a number of organisations started to form to speak on behalf of the victims of the syndrome. Which is to say, not the people who suffered from the syndrome, but the people accused of long-past crimes.

Some of these organisations still exist: they have names like False Memory Syndrome Foundation, the British False Memory Society, the False Memory Association of Australia. Not unpredictably, they are often linked within the websites of, or directly connected to, mens’ rights organisations. Ostensibly, their mission is to combat the ‘recovered memory therapy’ practitioners who plant dark fantasies of repressed abuse into their clients, in order to discredit innocent people (almost always men).


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