The Myth of Repressed Memory False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse

Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and Katherine Ketcham

St. Martin's Griffin

0312141238

9780312141233

Trade Paperback

312 Pages

$17.99

CAD19.99

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According to many clinical psychologists, when the mind is forced to endure a horrifying experience, it has the ability to bury the entire memory of it so deeply within the unconscious that it can only be recalled in the form of a flashback triggered by a sight, a smell, or a sound. Indeed, therapists and lawyers have created an industry based on treating and litigating the cases of people who suddenly claim to have "recovered" memories of everything from child abuse to murder.

This book reveals that despite decades of research, there is absolutely no controlled scientific support for the idea that memories of trauma are routinely banished into the unconscious and then reliably recovered years later. Since it is not actually a legitimate psychological phenomenon, the idea of "recovered memory"—and the movement that has developed alongside it—is thus closer to a dangerous fad or trendy witch hunt.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Myth of Repressed Memory

"Astute, scientifically informed, and compassionate towards the movement's casualties."—The New York Review of Books

"The descriptions [of] the 'therapeutic' practices by which memories are recovered are a frightening indictment of at least some members of the burgeoning industry."—The New York Times Book Review

"[A] thoughtful, scholarly book . . . concerned with exposing the damage caused by, and the falsity of, the practice of recovered-memory therapy."—The Washington Post Book World

"The best book I have read on these phenomena."—Boston Book Review

"Gripping reading."—Scientific American

"Loftus has been an inventive and prolific investigator of memory's foibles . . . This book shows the false side of recovered memories, and their horrifying consequences."—The New England Journal of Medicine

"This eye-opening book makes a compelling argument for caution."—Publishers Weekly

"Loftus argues that an incest-recovery culture . . . has induced thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of women to falsely accuse their parents."—Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A reasonable and restrained approached to a touchy subject."—Kirkus Review

"Presents several in-depth case studies of how families have been torn apart by child sexual abuse cases based on what Loftus considers the scientifically suspect concept of repressed memory. Drawing on her long experimental research into the nature of memory, she says it is not like video tape, storing images until they are replayed, but is a creative process related to dreams, creative writing, imagination, and wishful thinking. She accuses overzealous and ideological therapists of manipulating the memory of vulnerable women and creating a hysteria similar to the witch hunts."—Booknews

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, is also the author of Witness for the Defense and Eyewitness Testimony.

Katherine Ketcham is also the co-author of Under the Influence, The Spirituality of Imperfection, Beyond the Influence, The Power of Empathy, and other books.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and Katherine Ketcham

  • Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, is also the author of Witness for the Defense and Eyewitness Testimony. She received the 2005 Grawemeyer Award for Psychology.

    Katherine Ketcham is also the co-author of Under the Influence, The Spirituality of Imperfection, Beyond the Influence, The Power of Empathy, and other books.
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