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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

The "Repressed Memory" Debate

Something has gone wrong with therapy, and because that something has do do with memory, I find myself at the center of an increasingly bitter and fractious controversy. On the one side are the "True Believers" who insist that the mind is capable of repressing memories and who accept without reservation or question the authenticity of recovered memories. On the other side are the "Skeptics" who argue that the notion of repression is purely hypothetical and essentially untestable, based as it is on unsubstantiated speculation and anecdotes that are impossible to confirm or deny. Some skeptics are less circumspect, referring to repression as "psychomagic," "smoke and mirrors," or just plain "balderdash."

Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and Katherine Ketcham, The Myth of Repressed Memory, 1994 [I think most social scientists in the field today side with the skeptics. In the criminal justice system innocent people have been sent to prison on the strength of what turned out to be bogus repressed memory testimony.

1 comment:

  1. What is your evidence that "most social scientists side with the skeptics?" Even if true, most psychologists, and even many quantum scientists believe, or have found, that dissociative amnesia (repressed memories) not only takes place for emotional trauma in childhood, but that it is common. What "innocent" people have gone to prison? Please name some. In addition, many courts now accept expert testimony on dissociative amnesia, and allow victims who have experienced it, to testify.