Source Amnesia

Topic: Source Amnesia

Posted by: James L.

Key Terms:

  • explicit memory : the conscious, intentional recollection of previous experiences and information
  • amnesia : a condition in which memory is disturbed. In simple terms it is the loss of memory
  • episodic memory : memory for specific events
  • recall : a measure of memory in which the person must retrieve information learned earlier, as on a fill-in-the-blank test.


Source amnesia is an an explicit memory disorder(not exactly a "disorder", everyone can have it). Definition of source amnesia is a condition in which a person can recall certain information but cannot remember how or where the information is obtained. Thus, the person with source amnesia can associate or attribute his disconnected threads of memory of events into different past experiences that he had. That is why source amnesia is also called mis-attribution. One example of source amnesia would be falsely thinking that one actually experienced what one have seen only on fantasy movie before. Debra Poole and Stephen Lindsay experimented to test source amnesia. They gathered some preschoolers and made them interact with "Mr.Science" who engaged with the children through various activities. Three months later, their parents read them a story about themselves and Mr.Science about both things they really saw and things they didn't. Later, when they are asked a question asking whether or not they saw Mr.Science's activity(fake, only in the story their parents told them) 4 out of 10 kids said that they did. This experiment shows that people often remember fiction as fact.
Perhaps this could be related to danger of playing violent games.

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Source Amnesia - The Neuron

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