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Old October 19 2013, 07:13 AM   #1
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A question for people smarter then I.

So, I know there are smarter people on this board than myself. And, despite the fact that I know I carry a reputation which prevents many from taking me serious, I figured why not ask.

How does one know if they are repressing a memory, or simply don't have the memory they are looking for? Is there really a way to know the difference?
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Old October 19 2013, 08:19 AM   #2
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

I am not claiming to be smarter than you or anyone else.

See the Wikipedia article on repressed memories: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repressed_memory

I've done a lot of stupid things in the past 6 decades. The first probably happened when I was 2 years old. I stuck a pair of scissors into a live electrical outlet. I'm told I was pretty much stuck there, screaming "Hot! Hot!" until my brother kicked me loose from it. Apparently I've repressed the entire incident and don't remember it at all.

There was another incident that seemed to involve memory suppression. In 6th grade, my grades were all Good or Satisfactory until the 3rd quarter. When I got the report card for that quarter, nearly every subject except for two was Needs Improvement. I was in disbelief, sure that I was going to get my ass whipped. Things got even stranger when nothing at all was said about it at home. For the 4th quarter, my grades were suddenly back to normal.

It wasn't until about 25 years later that I was told what had happened. During that 3rd quarter, my mother had gone into the hospital for several weeks, and I had become very depressed during it-- they'd estimated she only had about 2 years left, which turned out to be correct. When she got out, I was fine. But I evidently didn't realize it was affecting my grades at the time, and was still mystified about it until one of my sisters finally told me about it when I was 37.
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Old October 19 2013, 08:05 PM   #3
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

Melakon wrote: View Post
I've done a lot of stupid things in the past 6 decades. The first probably happened when I was 2 years old. I stuck a pair of scissors into a live electrical outlet. I'm told I was pretty much stuck there, screaming "Hot! Hot!" until my brother kicked me loose from it. Apparently I've repressed the entire incident and don't remember it at all.
Does anybody remember anything from when they were two years old? I certainly don't.
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Old October 19 2013, 08:33 PM   #4
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

Death wrote: View Post
How does one know if they are repressing a memory, or simply don't have the memory they are looking for? Is there really a way to know the difference?
This sounds more personal than just a general query. Is there a reason why you think you may have a repressed memory? Has something been affecting you consciously that makes you think it may be indicative of some past traumatic experience you've forgotten or suppressed? You don't need to go into details unless you want to.

On another note, though, if you feel like this is something that is making you feel depressed or anxious or otherwise, you should really seek some sort of professional help. Talking it out on TrekBBS might be slightly cathartic, but it's generally a bad idea to turn to an online forum for psychological advice. Especially when you're dealing with a controversial subject like repressed memories.
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Old October 19 2013, 08:47 PM   #5
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

Hollywood Werewolf wrote: View Post
Melakon wrote: View Post
I've done a lot of stupid things in the past 6 decades. The first probably happened when I was 2 years old. I stuck a pair of scissors into a live electrical outlet. I'm told I was pretty much stuck there, screaming "Hot! Hot!" until my brother kicked me loose from it. Apparently I've repressed the entire incident and don't remember it at all.
Does anybody remember anything from when they were two years old? I certainly don't.
My earliest memories date back to when I was roughly 4-5 years old I think and resemble more bits and flashes than actual memories.
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Old October 19 2013, 09:15 PM   #6
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

Hollywood Werewolf wrote: View Post
Melakon wrote: View Post
. . .blah bla-blah. . .2 years old. blah. . .
Does anybody remember anything from when they were two years old? I certainly don't.
There was another incident I do remember. I was sitting on the front steps of our house, playing with a cap pistol. A neighbor kid demanded I give it to him and I refused. He kept threatening me. I said, "Well take it then!" and threw it at him. My aim must have been pretty good, because it hit him in the face and bloodied his nose. His mom came over screaming at my mom about it. I remember hiding under the table with the dog, thinking they couldn't see me.

My mom recorded the event in my baby book, and I wasn't yet 3. I even remember the kid's first and last names. I'm not going to mention it though, because you might be him.

Since the earlier event I mentioned involved electricity, maybe I performed a self lobotomy.
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Old October 19 2013, 09:30 PM   #7
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

Stay away from the so-called recovered memory quacks--
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recovered_memory_therapy
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Old October 19 2013, 11:58 PM   #8
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

Hollywood Werewolf wrote: View Post
Melakon wrote: View Post
I've done a lot of stupid things in the past 6 decades. The first probably happened when I was 2 years old. I stuck a pair of scissors into a live electrical outlet. I'm told I was pretty much stuck there, screaming "Hot! Hot!" until my brother kicked me loose from it. Apparently I've repressed the entire incident and don't remember it at all.
Does anybody remember anything from when they were two years old? I certainly don't.
I do. My earliest memory was when I was 1 or 2.
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Old October 20 2013, 05:56 AM   #9
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

This is a subject that interests me especially, and I do have a fair amount of knowledge in this area, so here's a very broad and general take on it:

I have memories from 1 to 2 years of age as well...at least, I think I do. That's the thing with memories. Our memories are really, really terrible, no matter how accurate we think they are. They are poor reconstructions of incomplete data from inaccurate sensory input, augmented with utter fabrication and beautifully designed to make us think they are good records of reality and to promote false confidence. You can never know for sure if an unconfirmed memory is genuine, a distortion of a genuine memory, an amalgamation of more than one memory, or just made up out of whole cloth, but you can always know for sure that every single memory you have is at the very least biased and only somewhat accurate.

Repression is a very grey area in psychology. Memories can be repressed, and they can be recovered, but it is also ridiculously easy to implant false memories; and this can be done completely unwittingly (in fact, it is most often done unwittingly). Given this fact, the fact that every time you access a memory you alter it, and given my supposition that we likely repress memories for a reason (probably to protect our mental health), I personally think the plausibility and benefit of recovering memories therapeutically is debatable. I do know of case studies where this technique was used successfully, and where the recovered memories were verified not only by other witness but by police and child welfare documents. I think successful cases are far outnumbered by unsuccessful cases, though.
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Old October 20 2013, 06:43 AM   #10
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

DH, are there gaps in your memory? Are there people or events you can't remember clearly? Events that are mentioned that 'don't exist' for you? Do you see photographs and can't remember when they were taken? Not a clear indication, I realise, but could be a starting point.

Have a think about that.
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Old October 20 2013, 02:33 PM   #11
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

Hollywood Werewolf wrote: View Post
Does anybody remember anything from when they were two years old? I certainly don't.
My earliest clear memory of an event was from when I was 20 months old.

How do you tell the difference between a repressed memory, verses something that you've simply forgot? I would think that the vast majority of the day to day ocurrences in our lives are fairly quickly gone.

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Old October 20 2013, 03:19 PM   #12
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

For me, I was hit by a car when i was a teen. I have NO memory of the event, just the time before and after.

Every so often i get a flash. Just like one frame of a movie. My brain screams "Too close!". Thats all I get.

Repressed memories try to leak out. Forgotten ones dont have that urgency.
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Old October 20 2013, 03:53 PM   #13
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

I remember the last hug my grandmother on my mom's side ever gave me. I was two and it was the day she died. I was two years old.

P0sitr0nic, I think what you're describing is a defense mechanism of sorts in our brains. I've broken bones and until I broke my foot, I never remembered the moment of impact. I think our brains protect us from certain moments of pain.
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Old October 20 2013, 04:01 PM   #14
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

Death wrote: View Post
Hollywood Werewolf wrote: View Post
Melakon wrote: View Post
I've done a lot of stupid things in the past 6 decades. The first probably happened when I was 2 years old. I stuck a pair of scissors into a live electrical outlet. I'm told I was pretty much stuck there, screaming "Hot! Hot!" until my brother kicked me loose from it. Apparently I've repressed the entire incident and don't remember it at all.
Does anybody remember anything from when they were two years old? I certainly don't.
I do. My earliest memory was when I was 1 or 2.

I doubt that. There's an element of basic biology here. The one-year-old brain is just too different and unformed to have coherent memories that stay with us until maturity. At two or three you MIGHT have a few images, and that's even stretching it. Most people start having fully formed coherent memories at around age 4.
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Old October 20 2013, 05:29 PM   #15
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Re: A question for people smarter then I.

Bull. I have plenty of clear and vivid memories of events that verifiably occurred in the first two years of my life. I know they are from that early, as the events I remember occurred in a house that we only lived in until I was two.
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