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Research finds repressed memories don’t exist

September 12, 2010
clipped from www.abc.net.au

In a briefing to the US Supreme Court, Professor Richard McNally from Harvard University described the theory of repressed memory as “the most pernicious bit of folklore ever to infect psychology and psychiatry”.

The idea that traumatised people, especially the victims of child sexual abuse, deliberately repress horrific memories goes all the way back to the 19th century and the theories of Sigmund Freud himself
now some experts are saying the evidence points the other way
Professor Grant Devilly, from Griffith University’s Psychological Health research unit, says the memory usually works in the opposite way, with traumatised people reliving experiences they would rather forget
“It’s the opposite. They wish they couldn’t think about it,”

He maintains false memories can easily be created by inept therapists.

“The stress hormones that are released during a trauma tend to consolidate the memory, make it rather strong and sometimes even intrusive, as you see in post-traumatic stress disorder,”

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