Repressed Memories : Truth Or Fiction

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Repressed Memories: Truth or Fiction
Talia E. Shuman
The University of Tampa Repressed Memories: Truth or Fiction
When people think of memory repression, people think of child sexual abuse scandals, parental abuse, traumatic injuries, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Memory repression is thought by some to be a defense mechanism of the brain in the event of extreme distress. The memory of the event is pushed back into the corners of the unconscious, and is only recovered after a long period of time has passed. According to the American Psychological Association, both memory researchers and clinicians who work with trauma victims agree that memory can be forgotten and then remembered, and a ‘memory’ can be suggested and remembered as true (APA, n.d.). However, some believe this is not the case. Instead, they believe that these repressed memories are the result of over-eager therapists planting ideas in their clients’ heads. In a recent study, Harrsion Pope tried to find a case of memory repression in works of fiction and nonfiction prior to 1800, and didn’t find any cases which matched their definition of a repressed memory. They concluded from this that “the phenomenon is not a natural neurological function, but rather a ‘culture-bound’ syndrome rooted in the nineteenth century” (Pettus, 2008). Memory repression is an extremely controversial subject in the field of psychology. Further research into this topic could lead to better treatments for patients
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