Conspiracies: definition, causes and common symptoms

The phenomenon of human memory is one of the most studied cognitive functions throughout the history of science, because in addition to being extremely complex, it is also extremely treacherous.

Conspiracies are one of the distorting phenomena of people’s reality, Understood as counterfeit memory products.

    What are conspiracies?

    Conspiracies are a curious and difficult phenomenon to explain. First, they could be set with some kind of fake memory due to garbage collection issue.

    But there are differences between false memories and conspiracies, and the latter go beyond the category of normal; either because of the high frequency with which they appear, or because of the strangeness of these.

    On the other hand, the person who suffers from it is not conscious, coming to take these memories for authentic and not to doubt their veracity. The content of plots varies greatly from person to person, and may contain stories related to the experiences of the patient or others, or become real constructs completely invented by the patient.

    In addition, the degree of credibility can also differ from person to person. Lock in the most common stories (explaining that bread was bought), and therefore believable; to the most absurd and disproportionate stories (explaining that one was abducted by aliens).

    Classification of Plots: Kopelman vs. Schnider

    Throughout history, conspiracies have been categorized according to four criteria:

    • content: Differentiated in true or false limits, probability of occurrence, positive or negative, etc.
    • The way they appear: Provoked or spontaneous.
    • Terrenos in which it is pronounced: Autobiographical, episodic, general or personal semantics.
    • Clinical syndrome in which it appears.

    Nevertheless the classification accepted more on the part of the scientific society is the one that realized Kopelman. Who considered the most relevant thing to consider was how these issues arose; differing in two types. They are as follows.

    1.spontaneous conspiracies

    They are the least common and are often linked to another amnesic syndrome integrated with another dysfunction.

    2. provoked conspiracies

    These phenomena are much more common in patients with amnesia and are observed during the administration of a memory test. They are similar to the mistakes a healthy person can make when trying to memorize something with an extended retention interval and can represent a usual response based on impaired memory.

    Another classification was Schnider’s proposal, which classified them into four genera according to the different mechanisms of production. While these groupings do not enjoy unanimous validity on the part of the scientific community, they can help the reader understand what they are.

    3. Simple induced intrusions

    This term includes the distortions that appear when the person is pressured to remember the details of a story. An example would be when the person tries to remember a list of words and subconsciously introduces new words that are not there.

    According to Schnider, such intrusions do not correspond to a specific recovery mechanism.

    4. Momentary conspiracies

    They refer to the false statements that a patient makes when asked to make a comment in a conversation. Compared to other more fantastic content conspiracies, these can be quite plausible and believable on the listener’s part, although they may be inconsistent with the person’s current state and circumstances.

    For example, the patient may state that he is going to take a trip abroad when in fact he is hospitalized.

    Momentary conspiracies are the most common of all, but they are not yet fully understood, so it is not clear whether they have their own mechanism.

    5. Fantastic conspiracies

    As the name suggests, these conspiracies have no basis in reality; and are common in patients with paralytic dementia and psychosis.

    These conspiracies are absolutely inconceivable from a logical point of view and make no sense. In addition, if they are not accompanied by the behavior that corresponds to them.

    the causes

    The history of conspiracies is usually typical of patients with lesions of the prefrontal areas of the brain., Specifically the basal forebrain; including the orbitofrontal and ventromedial areas.

    The disorders and diseases that present the greatest number of conspiracies are:

    • Wernike-Korsakoff syndrome
    • brain tumors
    • Herpes simplex encephalitis
    • Frontotemporal dementias
    • multiple sclerosis
    • Anterior communicating cerebral artery infarction

    On the other hand, from a neuropsychological point of view, three hypotheses are distinguished, which differ in the extent to which memory impairment affects conspiracies. These are the Memory Dysfunction Centered Hypothesis, the Executive Dysfunction Centered Hypothesis, or the Double Hypothesis.

    1. Memory malfunction

    This first hypothesis is based on the idea that amnesia is a necessary condition for the patient to conspire. At the time, conspiracies were considered a different form of amnesia. Belief that is still maintained today because these appear mainly in neurological disorders that lead to memory impairment.

    From this hypothesis, it is emphasized that conspiracies are a means of “filling” the gaps left by amnesia.

    2. Executive dysfunction

    Executive function includes self-directed cognitive skills internally and with a specific goal. These functions direct our behavior and our cognitive and emotional activity.

    Therefore, this hypothesis claims that the conspiracies are the result of problems in this executive function. The evidence on which this theory is based is that these conspiracies diminish as executive functioning improves.

    3. Double hypothesis

    The third and final hypothesis maintains that the production of conspiracies is due to a joint involvement of deficit proceedings both in terms of memory and executive functioning.

    Explanatory models of conspiracies

    The difficulty in defining conspiracies in a concrete way, in explaining them as false memories but which are quite true for the patient; it forces researchers to develop explanatory models.

    At the start of conspiracy research, the models insisted that conspiracy arose out of the patient’s need to compensate for memory gaps. However, even if the emotional aspects are taken into account, this model has been outdated today.

    On another side, of neuropsychology has several suggestions to explain this phenomenon. These are grouped into those who define conspiracies as a problem of temporality and those who give more relevance to the recovery process.

    1. Theories of temporality

    This theory holds that a conspiratorial patient suffers from a distorted sense of chronology. In this sense, patients are able to remember what happened but not in the proper chronological order.

    The theory of temporality finds support in the observation that most conspiracies can originate in true but misplaced memory.

    2. Theories of recovery

    Human memory is seen as a process of reconstruction, and conspiracies are a prime example.

    According to these theories, conspiracies are the product of a deficit in the memory recovery process. The strongest proof is that it affects both the most distant memories and those acquired once the deficit has set in.

    Despite this, garbage collection is not a one-time processIt would therefore be necessary to determine which specific aspects are those which have deteriorated.

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