Defending Against the Threat of Dementia
This chapter continues our exploration of dementia as an existential threat by focusing on one way by which we protect ourselves from distress when we encounter reminders of dementia in our everyday lives. The specific coping mechanism we will discuss is known as mnemic neglect. This is a self-protective memory bias that shields us from being consciously aware of information about our self that is threatening. We will outline some of the research from social psychology on mnemic neglect before describing our own research that extends these findings into a clinical domain. This programme of studies shows that older people without dementia, as well as those who are living with dementia, both selectively forget information about the condition that threatens their sense of self. This indicates that the same self-protective strategies are at play in people with and without dementia. We conclude by discussing the therapeutic implications of these findings.
KeywordsDementia Mnemic neglect Repression Protective Memory Awareness
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