False Memory Syndrome

Prior to the late 1980s and early 1990s, the phrase “false memory” was not commonplace and may only have been discussed among researchers studying memory. However, during this decade, the phenomenon occurred in which both children and adults were documented in recalling memories of violent sexual abuse, with no external evidence to corroborate their memories. Many of these newly recalled memories were determined to be untrue and subsequently retracted by the alleged victims. This strange event occurred so frequently during this time period that it became known as the false memory syndrome (FMS), defined as “a condition in which a person's identity and interpersonal relationships are centered around a memory of traumatic experience which is objectively false but in which the person strongly believes” (Kihlstrom, ...

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