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Source amnesia is an explicit memory disorder in which someone can recall certain information, but they do not know where or how they obtained it.
The disorder is particularly episodic, where source or contextual information surrounding facts are severely distorted and/or unable to be recalled. Via the use of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST) as developed by Esta Berg in 1948, Positron Emission Tomography (PET), and explicit and implicit memory tests, researchers have performed extensive empirical research on source-amnesiacs and concluded or suggested neuropsychological geneses.
Daniel Schacter and Endel Tulving have each proposed that memory for facts is differentiated from memory for context. The neuropsychological implications as in brain maturation, deterioration in the normal aging course, and damage are conveyed. The organic deterioration of the frontal lobes in the process of normal aging has a greater influence on episodic memory than perhaps premature lobes in young children. Source amnesia has the ability to alter one's confidence in their memory encoded in differing conditions (i.e. conscious state or in dreaming), as in memory distrust syndrome, an inclusive disorder. Source amnesia was first presented and examined in the hypnotic environment, and further understanding the human memory process is essential in unravelling this increasingly less mysterious condition.
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.
A condition similar to source amnesia sometimes occurs in dreams, when the dreamer has some knowledge about details of the imaginary environment but has no idea where they learned this information.