Recovered and false memories

D. Wright, James Ost, C. French

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In 1995 the recovered memory debate was near its most vociferous height. Hundreds of people were recovering memories of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), sometimes in therapies where it was believed that repressed or dissociated memories had to be recovered in order for the person to ‘heal’. Many of the people who recovered these memories confronted the person whom they remembered abusing them, and some cases ended up in the criminal courts with successful prosecutions. However, there were those who questioned whether all such memories should be accepted as accurate reflections of real events (e.g. Loftus, 1993). It was argued that some, perhaps even most, of such recovered memories might in fact be false memories produced, at least in part, by the therapists themselves. In response to such concerns, bodies such as the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association issued guidance to their members regarding the potential dangers of unintentionally implanting false memories in patients.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages4
Specialist publicationThe Psychologist
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


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