Retrospective Falsification

By Gillian Fournier

Unconscious distortion of memory as dictated by one’s present psychological needs. This distortion happens over time and is due to the fact that the person is re-telling it and adding/embellishing the story. These added bits include speculations and you may notice that the person claims two conflicting events happened at the same time or perhaps a place has been changed. The new details have been invented without any care about whether they are correct or not. People who retrospectively falsify a story also tend to embellish the positive and delete the negative aspects of the situation.

Example: A business deal goes sour and litigation ensues over the partners’ differing recollections of their original verbal agreement.


    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Aug 2010