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Psychology Assignment: How Memory Functions In Real-Life Situations?


Task: Write a well-researched and detailed psychology assignment examining how the memory functions under various types of settings in real-life situations.


Introductory Paragraph
According to the research on psychology assignment, psychologically the existence of repression is considered to be totally unconscious and automatic in nature. It is perceived as one of the main issues that cause the formation of false memories. Due to which in many criminal cases, therapies are used to retrieve such repressed memories that often gives rise to false memories only. However, such reconstruction of memories is a very common practice in forensic and legal matters. Such reconstruction of memories is again used differently by different people for fulfilling different objectives. When such a memory reconstruction method is applied by police for the interrogation of witnesses, it might damage the memory of the witness. On the other hand, the same tactics, when applied by therapists for the treatment of their clients, would help them to extract the truth about the absence of any repressed memories related to any abusive memories. Researches and studies have shown that such inaccurate beliefs arising out of repressed memories can be rectified.

Justification for why the study needs to be done
The main purpose of conducting this study is to thoroughly understand how memory functions under various types of settings in real-life situations. Many studies have been conducted on this topic, and various opinions have come out related to the different aspects of memory. The existence of repressed memory is believed by some experts, whereas some others do not support this claim. Based on such contradictory opinions of different experts, it had been necessary to conduct this study just to find out such a concept related to repressed memories can actually be rectified in reference to two cohorts like Forensic and legal psychology.

In the recent works on repressed memories, experts have expressed their opinion that how the functioning of memory impacts decision making in various aspects of human life (Otgaar et al., 2021). The concept of repressed memory was first coined by Sigmund Freud and has since been a constant matter of research and studies for psychologists for decades since then (Campbell & Pile, 2010). Most psychologists, however, agree on one primary point that repressed memory is one of the most basic defence mechanisms of human psychology. It gets triggered, particularly when the individual has to go through any experience of traumatic nature. The occurrence of repressed memories I consider to be spontaneous, and it takes place in the most unconscious nature. The victim hardly realizes that his or her memory has been repressed. The victim fails to remember much or almost nothing about the traumatic experiences of the past. Based on the above-mentioned concept, it can be assumed that the concept of repressed memory is a very popular one among psychologists. In most of the recent studies, experts have argued about the concept of repressed memory. Whenever the common people are questioned about repressed memory, they automatically link it to deliberate memory (Patihis et al., 2018). Such a defence mechanism gets activated in the human mind so as to ensure that the victim can no longer access or reach that corner of his or her memory. The paradox of this situation is that such repressed memories have psychopathological impacts that are most harmful in nature. As a countermeasure of which retrieving such repressed memory which is totally unspoken in nature is extremely vital for treating any such symptoms of repressed memory manifestation The use of therapies for repressed memories has gained new momentum since the decades of the nineties (Schutte, 1994). Various methods were adopted by therapists to retrieve the unconscious memory of the victims related to their traumatic experiences. Contemporary studies showed that some of the most commonly practised methods of therapies adopted at that time were hypnosis, guided memory, interpretation of dreams or the diary methods. Based on such therapies, when the traumatic memories were retrieved, it made way for the filing of new lawsuits by those victims based on the retrieval of repressed memories (Howe & Conway, 2013).

The role of repressed memory has been extremely crucial in criminal proceedings involving traumatic experiences, particularly for cases of sexual abuse or domestic violence (Dodier et al., 2019). Such extensive use of repressed memory retrieval has caused a substantial rise in adopting this practice among the legal practitioners of Europe and the US. This had also caused to recommend certain faulty concepts based on the functioning of such repressed and retrieved memories (Meyersburg et al., 2009). As a result of which most of the psychologists tended not to consider the concept of repressed memory; however, this was not accepted by the experts of many other disciplines of life, and particularly in the forensic and legal field, this concept continued to survive even after that.

The next level of study now moved on towards proving the existence of repressed memories. A lot of surveys and studies were conducted on this subject. The legal and the police department were mostly used cohort for this study. This led to a strange collision of concepts between repressed memories and suppressed memories (McNally, 2016). Wherein repression of memory is an unconscious act while suppression of memory is a conscious act. However, recent studies have shown a trend that some experts still believe that repressed memory does exist, whereas the majority of psychologists still deny accepting the concept of repressed memories (Engelhard et al., 2019).

Statement of independent and dependent variable(s) (IVs and DVs) and hypothesis
The dependent variable in this study had been the confirmation of the participants related to different types of their memory beliefs. The independent variable had primarily been the eyewitness memory based on which the participants would actually assess their individual memory functions. This served as their primary source to check out whether their memory of any traumatic experience is actually getting blocked unconsciously or not. Such a symptom is very closely related to dissociative amnesia as well (Scheflin& Brown, 1996). The hypothesis states that applying eyewitness memory can prove to be useful in rectifying the ill effects of repressed memory.

Justification of Method
The cohorts of Forensic and Legal psychology for the years 2018 and 2019, who enrolled for their Master's program at Maastricht University, were considered for this study. The number of participants was between 74 and 33, covering both the cohorts and measurements of three types. The survey has been designed where students from both the cohorts would be given a chance to assess their memory statements thrice. The memory statement would act as the basis of the entire survey. The timeline intervals have also been arranged to keep in mind the memory belief statements. The second timeline would follow 13 weeks after the first timeline and subsequently would take place after 18 months for 2018 cohorts and after 6 months for 2019 cohorts.

The entire survey was focused on the eyewitness memory testing of the participants since the survey was conducted to fathom the range of any changes in the disputed thought process that eye witness memory can actually rectify certain misconceptions related to repressed memories. The timelines had been set at such intervals just to check the level of consistency of such changed perceptions related to repressed memories (Kannis-Dymand et al., 2020). The mean survey ratings and the standard deviations derived across the three timeframes of both the cohorts indicated the relationship of various measurement parameters to some specific set of participants. So, various analytical approaches were applied. The pattern of the survey outcome proved that not asking specifically about ratifying the concept of unconscious repression has opened up new avenues for future research. Wherein specific enquiries can be made from the participants about their level of understanding about repressed memories and how it can become relevant for legal policies.

Campbell, J., & Pile, S. (2010). Telepathy and its vicissitudes: Freud, thought transference and the hidden lives of the (repressed and non-repressed) unconscious. Subjectivity, 3(4), 403-425.

Dodier, O., Melinder, A., Otgaar, H., Payoux, M., & Magnussen, S. (2019). Psychologists and Psychiatrists in Court: What Do They Know About Eyewitness Memory? A Comparison of Experts in Inquisitorial and Adversarial Legal Systems. Journal Of Police And Criminal Psychology, 34(3), 254-262.

Engelhard, I., McNally, R., & van Schie, K. (2019). Retrieving and Modifying Traumatic Memories: Recent Research Relevant to Three Controversies. Current Directions In Psychological Science, 28(1), 91-96.

Howe, M., & Conway, M. (2013). Memory and the law: Insights from case studies. Memory, 21(5), 545-546. Kannis-Dymand, L., Coleborn, M., Innes, P., & Carter, J. (2020). Beliefs about Memory Questionnaire: psychometric properties in a natural disaster sample. Memory, 29(1), 78-89.

McNally, R. (2016). False Memories in the Laboratory and in Life: Commentary on Brewin and Andrews (2016). Applied Cognitive Psychology, 31(1), 40-41.

Meyersburg, C., Bogdan, R., Gallo, D., & McNally, R. (2009). False memory propensity in people reporting recovered memories of past lives.Psychology assignmentJournal Of Abnormal Psychology, 118(2), 399-404.

Otgaar, H., Howe, M., &Patihis, L. (2021). What science tells us about false and repressed memories. Memory, 1-6.

Patihis, L., Ho, L., Loftus, E., & Herrera, M. (2018). Memory experts’ beliefs about repressed memory. Memory, 29(6), 823-828.

Scheflin, A., & Brown, D. (1996). Repressed Memory or Dissociative Amnesia: What the Science Says. The Journal Of Psychiatry & Law, 24(2), 143-188.

Schutte, J. (1994). Repressed memory lawsuits: Potential verdict predictors. Behavioral Sciences & The Law, 12(4), 409-416.


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