The Recovered Memory/false Memory Debate

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Kathy Pezdek, William P. Banks
Academic Press, 1996 - Psychology - 394 pages
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A debate has been raging in courtrooms, journals, and the popular press about the validity of recovered memories. The memories in question are of childhood sexual abuse, mistreatment, and trauma. They have tremendous power for harm or healing, for righting of wrongs or for unjust accusations; it all depends on their validity. Is it possible for a memory to be lost and then "recovered?" What is the validity of such a memory? Can children be persuaded that events did or did not happen? What causes childhood amnesia and are traumatic childhood memories more or less likely to be remembered than nontraumatic ones? This book examines these and other complex but critical questions. It presents the latest contributions from researchers representing the full range of positions on the issues and using many different approaches to the questions.The topics are organized as follows. Section I covers the effects of emotion and stress on memory in children. Section II contains analyses of the development of normal autobiographical memory as a context for understanding how childhood traumatic events might be recalled, whether at the time by children, or later by adults. Section III covers the suggestibility of memory. This issue is central because therapists may unwittingly induce false memories in their patients, and abusers may suggest to their victims that their memories are imaginary. Whether and how these can happen depends on suggestibility. The veracity of child witnesses also hinges to a great degree on their suggestibility. Section IV contains some examples from current literature and is the only place where the reports on recovered memories from both the American and the British Psychological Associations can be found.

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Contents

Amnesia Partial Amnesia and Delayed Recall among Adult Survivors
29
Flaws Absences and Returns
69
The Development of Self
97
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

William P. Banks is Professor of Psychology at Pomona College and editor-in-chief of the journal "Consciousness and Cognition".

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