What is Source Amnesia?

Source amnesia occurs if a person isn’t able to realize where, when, or how he, or she got their knowledge or information about anything. Sam Wang in his NY Times article claims that: Due to the peculiar way our brains store memories, dispelling incorrect information may be more difficult than it appears over time. The fact is isolated from the context in which it was learned. Source amnesia example can be a fact that you presumably know that Lansing is the state capital of Michigan, but you probably don’t recall how you discovered that. Source amnesia is a condition that causes people to forget whether or not something is true.

What Does Source Amnesia Affect?

Source amnesia affects a person’s explicit memory, which is the form of memory, we need to actively recall daily events such as a friend’s birthday or a dental appointment. Explicit memory, as opposed to implicit memory, which is an unconscious recall for things like riding a bike or speaking a language, is the deliberate remembering of things like names or dates.

What Causes Source Amnesia?

Source amnesia psychology admits that it happens to everyone from time to time, and it’s usually nothing to worry about. We sometimes forget where we learned something after a considerable period of time has elapsed since we heard it. This thought is a result of inadequate memory encoding, which is the process through which our brain records our experiences and memories. If you carelessly read anything in a magazine, for instance, you might just save bits and parts of it because it doesn’t seem relevant. If you learned it for a public presentation, on the other hand, the situation will appear more serious, and you’ll be more likely to remember it. It may, however, be a symptom of a more serious problem if a person has it on a frequent basis. Source amnesia can be caused by head trauma in some situations. Because the frontal lobe of our brain is crucial for our ability to make sense of things and organize memories, persistent source amnesia may indicate that a person has had frontal lobe damage that is interfering with his or her explicit memory.

What is Source Amnesia in Psychology?

Source amnesia can also be caused by schizophrenia, a mental disorder that damages a person’s ability to discriminate between reality and hallucinations, among other things. Because people with schizophrenia have a hard time distinguishing between what is real and what isn’t, it’s easy for them to get mixed up about where they heard something or what it implies. Because of other memory abnormalities or sensory disruption, this can be extremely difficult in many circumstances. Still, basically source amnesia psychology definition is the same one, as for everyone else: inability to remember sources of info in one’s head. Even though it may come from other psychological traumas, like Alzheimer’s, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and so on.

Who is Riskier to Have Source Amnesia?

While source amnesia appears to be more common in groups with certain brain disorders, it is conceivable for people without memory problems to develop source amnesia too. If a person just encodes content and doesn’t integrate context-specific information into memory, this can definitely happen. Source amnesia helps to explain the relationship between brain damage and social behavior too. According to research, in cases involving emotional stimuli or words, context-specific knowledge is better remembered. This shows that in order to effectively encode source-related information, source memory may benefit from thinking about emotions associated with the material. People also know it, under the name of flashbulb memory. Children who have practiced identifying the relationship between the speaker and the information are more likely to accurately identify source information. This is true whether the children consider perceptual or emotional ties to the speaker, but the effect is stronger when the emotional context is also taken into account. The improvement in the correct way of source encoding doesn’t come without a price, as children who improved their source encoding remembered less than controls when recalling semantic or non-source information. This shows that when it comes to different types of memory at a young age, there may be a trade-off because they can only focus on a specific amount of information one at a time.


There is no doubt, that the source amnesia is much more common nowadays, because of technological advancements. Source amnesia definition psychology is vital to specialists, who want to help humanity to overcome diverse psychological diseases, that is why many people study this aspect, as a separate branch of psychiatry. We will be able to help ourselves to overcome this inability to remember sources of information soon, but for now, humanity has to focus on brain training and developing skills for better memory strength.

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