False memories of epistemic consensus

Brown, Steven D. and Reavey, Paula (2017). False memories of epistemic consensus. Culture & Psychology, 23(2) pp. 171–185.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1354067X17695764


The dichotomy between ‘truth’ and ‘falsity’ in relation to memory is difficult to clearly sustain. The veridicality of memory is typically established by drawing on the local, normative procedures that operate in a given setting (e.g. legal, clinical, social). Since all procedures are strictly relative, all memories are technically either ‘relatively falsified’ or ‘relatively as-yet-unfalsified’. False Memory Studies claim to be able explain the production of false memories, but do not offer criterion to effectively differentiate populations of so-called ‘true’ and ‘false’ victims. The narrative of the discovery of the ‘false memories’ themselves is inconsistent and demonstrates a significant level of imagination inflation and suggestibility to dominant narratives in post-war Psychology. In attending to the setting-specificity of memory, researchers may wish to consider how their work impacts on the experience-ecologies to which they contribute.

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