Individual differences |
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As source amnesia prohibits recollection of the context-specific information surrounding facts in experienced events, there is also the inclusive case of confusion concerning the content or context of events, a highly attributable factor to confabulation in brain disease. Such confusion has been loosely termed memory distrust syndrome by Gudjonsson and MacKeith in 1982. A person who suffers from memory distrust syndrome may distrust his or her own memory and be motivated to rely on external (non-self) sources.
The overwhelming propensity to accept information from external sources (i.e. an interrogator) based on the influence of susceptibility has led to well documented false confessions. In addition, the credibility of a witness account who suffers from memory distrust syndrome is more questionable. In a parallel situation, amnesic individuals may have a greater propensity to have their memory manipulated and perhaps perform non-advantageous acts on the "direction" of external sources and have difficulty in differentiating imaginary and real experiences. Since it is an identified and natural occurrence that source amnesia pathology exists in the criminal law system, psychiatrists should increasingly take assessment and identification measures to isolate such a disorder on accused individuals and eye-witnesses.