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Affects of Repressed Memories in the Human Mind

Essay by   •  December 19, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,026 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,745 Views

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Repressed Memories 1

Affects of Repressed Memories

in the Human Mind

Repressed Memories 2

Affects of Repressed Memories

in the Human Mind

Often times, many individuals experience trauma during their childhood or early in their lives. They then for some reason or another, forget the memories. These memories are called repressed, and in this report, you will be informed about repressed memories. You will also read about how repressed memories can affect your actions and behaviors later in life. You will view a couple of scenarios consisting of repressed memories and you will be informed on the controversial issue being debated in the psychology field.

The issue of repressed memories began back in the late nineteenth century when Sigmund Freud developed theories about unconscious mental processes. He was inspired by his various clinical studies. Freud used his Psychoanalytic approach to develop his theories on the subject.

Repressed memories are memories achieved by traumatic experiences that are forgotten unconsciously, but they also unconsciously affect different situations and reactions in the future. For example, a child with abuse might forget about the abuse. But later in life, this individual might have problems opening up to form relationships with others. There is a difference between repression and suppression. Suppression is displayed when an individual

Repressed Behaviors 3

consciously tries to block out painful thoughts to avoid facing the responsibility and consequences of their actions.

All theories involving repressed memories have evolved from case studies, but no scientific documentations have been obtained due to the fact that repressed memories cannot be factually studied. One of the ways scientists experimented with this concept was by giving a subject an electrical shock to observe if it made the subject associate of a specific word with the feeling. However, it would be impossible to obtain a scientifically accurate and controlled experiment on the subject.

One way that scientists could accurately provide a controlled experiment would be to take hundreds of babies and raise them exactly alike in identical environments. Throughout their childhoods, selected children would be subjected to trauma. Then, scientists would wait years to observe the affects of the trauma on the individuals' behaviors later in life. But obviously, this form of experimenting would be unethical and socially unaccepted.

However, progress is being made in areas of naturalistic studies. In this area researchers follow cases of known child abuse for years. They follow these cases very closely and record many details such as whether or not the child remembers the abuse. When the child reaches maturity, they sometimes regain memories of the abuse and the accuracy of their memories are recorded.

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There has been a heated debate among psychologists for years. Some psychologists believe that when a more mature subject being studied can recall

his repressed memories they are describing actual events, while others believe that the "memories" being remembered are only false imaginations.

Sometimes repressed memories can develop into a phobia of some sort. For example, say you are at the zoo with your family looking at the monkeys when a stranger tries to grab you to take you away. For some reason, the memory of the stranger becomes repressed, but you develop a phobia of monkeys. Later in life, you seek psychological help

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