Memory and its Fallibility

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Posted (edited)

Watching the news from CNN, it seems the entire country of United States is up in arms because a certain lady remembers certain traumatic events from 45 years ago when she was 15 and she is Absolutely Certain she remembers it correctly.

In my own personal experience, I have had a number of traumatic events happen to me in my teens and twenties and 40 to 50 years later I was Absolutely Certain of the details of those events.  I mean, how could one forget the details of such traumatic events (which I don't wish to go into details about as we all have our own bad memories).

A year or two ago I had occasion to sit down with my family members and found out that everyone remembered the events differently and everyone was Absolutely Certain that their version of memory was accurate.  Turns out I was wrong.  It amazed me that I could incorrectly remember facts that were critical points in my life over a period of decades.

Has anyone else experienced that?  Has anyone else investigated their memories from decades ago to see if they are remembering correctly?  I am sure I cannot be the only one so I wonder why a whole country is divided based on the memory of a traumatized individual who did not seek justice or confirmation for 4 decades.  I am sure she is convinced she is remembering correctly but an outsider must be sympathetic and yet use the old axiom "Trust but Verify" before destroying the career of a man who is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty AND has been investigated numerous times for his high security clearance and found to be a clarion of virtue.

You all must realize I refer to the Kavanaugh situation but the topic is how world events can change based on one individual's memories of an event decades ago.

Comments?

Edited by Dave Hounddriver
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2 minutes ago, Dave Hounddriver said:

Comments?

:smile: It may sound Comical  from me but I assure you it is not, we make jokes about getting old and can't remember what we had for Breakfast only 2/3 days ago yet and they ( the memories) can keep me awake some nights, My mind can go back to many years previous and in my mind and telling a story ( as I did to kevin (sonjack) only on Thursday, I have re lived some of those memories as if it was only Yesterday, so for me yes! I do believe some if not all peoples Brains can research and dig up a past event  Bad or good. Not going to comment on the US issue But it could be, that that is the Case, the Victim ? Just may be one of those types that this can happen to But having said that I would hate to be a Judge or Juror on such a case

Such is my Testament :whistling:

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Traumatic or otherwise intense events stick in memory. People generally recall traumatic events with greater accuracy. Of course memory of extremely traumatic events is sometimes suppressed.

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1 hour ago, Guy F. said:

People generally recall traumatic events with greater accuracy.

That is a general perception, supported by many Hollywood movies, but not true in my personal experience.  I tend to strongly believe the recollection is accurate until I talk about it with others who were there at the time.  I believe that during periods of trauma we are less likely to accurately remember events.

1 hour ago, Guy F. said:

Of course memory of extremely traumatic events is sometimes suppressed.

Yes, but can we be sure it is not altered instead of suppressed.  Example:  (Using my own experience)  My brother did a bad thing, but my ex-wife was close by.  Over the years I grew to transfer my belief in "whodunit" from my brother to my ex-wife, probably because I liked my brother and not my ex.  Then my brother told me a couple of years ago that it was him, not my ex-wife and I had been remembering wrong for decades.  And yet I would have Strongly Accused my ex if my bro had not owned up.

So you folks are telling me that has never happened to you?  I always knew I was "special" :hystery:

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Two comments.

There have been many studies that show memories do indeed have a tendency to change over time.  This is particularly true where the person is questioned in a manner that tends to "push" the memory in one direction.  This also happens frequently when the adjusted memory falls more into line with preconceived beliefs.

The huge bruha in the USA right now is just the latest in what has become a wave of women coming forward claiming sexual abuse, especially by men who were previously considered men of integrity, influence, or power.   It was like a dam burst after the first lady came forward and accused Bill Cosby of rape.  Her coming forward and telling her story resulted in some 50 other women finally admitting that they had also been drugged and raped.  Since then many others in Hollywood, politics, business, and the military have been brought down by past behaviour that was previously overlooked or consider "the norm".  Historically in the USA, .and many other countries, any women who claims rape was/is often accused of somehow being at fault.  "She wore seductive clothing, should not have been there, was known to be promiscuous,  didn't report right away, etc"  All to often a rape trial ended up putting the defendant on trial instead of the accused.   There is currently a wave of anger among women who have been victimized and they are coming forward to say; "This happened to me and it is has to stop".  

Hopefully we have not strayed too far the original question from Dave.

  

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40 minutes ago, Mike J said:

Hopefully we have not strayed too far the original question from Dave.

Its all related.  I just have difficulty accepting that the angry, victimized women can rely 100% on their memory for all the details.  Making accusations of a crime, without any proof other than an infallible memory, is as terrorizing to the accused (especially if not guilty).

If these victims are going to ask that charges of a criminal act be made then I am all for it.  But that will require verification that should have been researched before the allegations were made.  Otherwise, I suspect the accused has a case for libel.  Not that the libel case would help after his life has been ruined.

 

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22 minutes ago, Dave Hounddriver said:

Its all related.  I just have difficulty accepting that the angry, victimized women can rely 100% on their memory for all the details.  Making accusations of a crime, without any proof other than an infallible memory, is as terrorizing to the accused (especially if not guilty).

Would you say the same to the thousands of young men assaulted by the Catholic clergy who are only now having the courage to come forward?  My point Dave is that women have historically been blamed, shamed, ridiculed, and held accountable for their own sexual assault.  She is already receiving death threats and was told in a twitter post to "stop spreading her legs and read a book".  At what point does time passing give the accused a free pass?  It takes tremendous courage to come forward as a "first victim" after so many years have passed.   It is often that first victim that results in the others coming forward.

 

25 minutes ago, Dave Hounddriver said:

But that will require verification that should have been researched before the allegations were made.

She did send a letter to a member of congress that was received in July.  There was no investigation so Ford went public with her accusation.   Consider that a Supreme Court Justice serves for life and can only be removed through impeachment by congress.  Impeachment of a sitting Supreme Court Justice has only happened once in the entire history of the United States and that justice was not found guilty and remained on the Supreme Court.  Can we blame her or other victims of abuse for going public when the system does not work and tries instead to silence them or turn them into the accused?

 

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Let's wait for the FBI investigation. Although being rushed, it may shed some light to whose is telling the truth.

Best commentary is from Saturday Nigh Live (SNL). One of the comedians said, "The hearings is a job interview. Why are you telling everyone how much you love to drink beer?" 

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Posted (edited)

It's waiting 36 years, then coming forward without any specifics that's bothering me. Someone needs to investigate the money flow into her bank account over the last 90 days as I suspect she has been paid handsomely for coming forward and wrecking the precedings. 

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/christine-blasey-ford-gofundme-brett-kavanaugh-allegations-senate-testimony/

Edited by Happyhorn52
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