Recovered memory/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Recovered memory.
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  • Brown, Scheflin and Hammond (1998). Memory, Trauma Treatment, And the Law. New York, NY: W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-70254-5. From this review: "The authors describe the historical origins of what has been called "the false memory debate" ...In extensive detail, the authors review thirty recent studies, every one of which documents that a subgroup of traumatized patients are amnesiatic for childhood sexual abuse. The authors suspect that the primary motivation for creating a controversy over the validity of repression is to challenge the "discovery rule" for suspending the expiration of the statute of limitations for filing legal claims arising from child sexual abuse. In instances where memories of abuse have been repressed, a majority of the states have extended the time limit for filing suit until discovery of the abuse. If repression is shown to be unscientific as claimed by false memory advocates, the delayed discovery doctrine would no longer assist the alleged adult victim in holding alleged abusers accountable in court. After an extensive review of memory literature the authors demonstrate that dissociative amnesia is a robust finding across all studies of traumatized subjects, thus extensions in the statutes of limitation for claims arising from child sexual abuse are justified.")
  • Schacter, D.L. (2000). Memory, brain and belief. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 
  • Herman, Judith Lewis (1997). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence from domestic abuse to political terror. Basic Books, 119–22. ISBN 0465087302. 
  • Watters, Ethan; Ofshe, Richard (1994). Making monsters: false memories, psychotherapy, and sexual hysteria. New York: Charles Scribner's. ISBN 0-684-19698-0. Reviewed in the New England Journal of Medicine ("There is nothing dispassionate about this book. Ofshe and Watters are angry, and for good reason: recovered memory is not merely another therapeutic fad. In their view, it is an unscientific and dangerous practice")

Review Articles (Secondary Sources, Peer reviewed)

  1. Brainerd CJ et al. Developmental reversals in false memory: a review of data and theory. Psychol Bull. 2008 May;134(3):343-82.PMID 18444700 (Can susceptibility to false memory and suggestion increase dramatically with age? The authors review the theoretical and empirical literatures on this counterintuitive possibility. some common domains of experience, in which false memories are rooted in meaning connections among events, age increases in false memory are the rule and are sometimes accompanied by net declines in the accuracy of memory.)
  2. Brown D (1995) Pseudomemories: the standard of science and the standard of care in trauma treatment. Am J Clin Hypn37(3):1-24. PMID 7879722 ("The pseudomemory (PM) debate has focused on individuals who do not remember sexual abuse and later recover these memories, often in therapy. This paper critically reviews experimental research on stress and memory and on suggestibility and memory in terms of its applicability to PM production in therapy. Three different kinds of suggestibility are identified--hypnotizability, postevent misinformation suggestibility, and interrogatory suggestibility. It is hypothesized that interrogatory suggestibility alone or the interaction of all three pose significant risk for PM production. It is argued that a better standard of science is needed before claims can be made about PM production in therapy, since no experimental studies have been conducted on memory performance or suggestibility effects in therapy.")
  3. Bruck M, Ceci SJ (1999) The suggestibility of children's memory Annu. Rev. Psychol 1999. 50:419-39
  4. Cannell J et al. (2001) Standards for informed consent in recovered memory therapy. J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 29:138-47. PMID 11471779 "Malpractice suits against therapists for either instilling or recovering false memories of sexual abuse have increased in the last few years and some of the awards have been large. ...This article concludes that the "risk or cluster of risks" that must be disclosed to a patient recovering repressed memories in psychotherapy should have included warnings about recovering false memories.")
  5. Gutheil TG, Simon RI (1997) Clinically based risk management principles for recovered memory cases. Psychiatr Serv 48:1403-7 PMID 9355166 ("Controversy over cases involving so-called recovered memories of sexual abuse has threatened to divide the mental health field, just as lawsuits based on recovered memories have sometimes divided children from parents and others. The authors review issues in this controversy, including the role of misdirected advocacy for recovered memory by some practitioners, the distinction between the actual events and patient's narrative truth as a factor in the therapeutic alliance, and the contrast between therapeutic and legal remedies.")
  6. Howe ML et al. (2006) Children's basic memory processes, stress, and maltreatment.Dev Psychopathol 18:759-69. PMID 17152399 (".. we examine extant assumptions regarding the effects of child maltreatment on memory. The effects of stress on basic memory processes is examined, and potential neurobiological changes relevant to memory development are examined. The impact of maltreatment-related sequelae (including dissociation and depression) on basic memory processes as well as false memories and suggestibility are also outlined. ...the investigations that do exist reveal that maltreated children's basic memory processes are not reliably different from that of other, nonmaltreated children.)"
  7. Lynn SJ, Nash MR (1994) Truth in memory: ramifications for psychotherapy and hypnotherapy Am J Clin Hypn 36:194-208. PMID 7992802 ("... we intend to sensitize the clinician to the potential pitfalls of critical reliance on the patient's memories, as well as uncritically accepted clinical beliefs and practices.")
  8. Pezdek K, Lam S (2007) What research paradigms have cognitive psychologists used to study "false memory," and what are the implications of these choices? Conscious Cogn 16:2-17. PMID 16157490 ("...examines the methodologies employed by cognitive psychologists to study "false memory," and assesses if these methodologies are likely to facilitate scientific progress or perhaps constrain the conclusions reached. ... Although there is an apparent false memory research bandwagon in cognitive psychology, with increasing numbers of studies published on this topic over the past decade, few researchers (only 13.1% of the articles) have studied false memory as the term was originally intended--to specifically refer to planting memory for an entirely new event that was never experienced in an individual's lifetime.")See disagreement in Wade et al. (2007) False claims about false memory research. Conscious Cogn 16:18-28; PMID 16931058.
  9. Smeets T et al. (2005) Trying to recollect past events: confidence, beliefs, and memories. Clin Psychol Rev 25:917-34. PMID 16084632 ("Numerous studies claim to have shown that false memories can be easily created in the laboratory. However, a critical analysis of the methods employed in these studies indicates that many of them do not address memory in the strict sense of the word. ...this research domain would profit from studies looking explicitly at whether experimental manipulations intended to implant false memories have overt behavioral consequences.")

Possibly redundant sourcing

More Questions About Recovered Memories

To improve readability of the main page, consecutive citations after a first were moved here.

Sheflin, AW; Brown D (1996). "Repressed memory or dissociative amnesia: what the science says". J Psychiat Law 24: 143–88. ISSN 0093-1853.

Bowman ES (1996). "Delayed memories of child abuse: Part I: An overview of research findings on forgetting, remembering, and corroborating trauma". Dissociation 9: 221–31.

Research Papers (Primary Sources, Peer reviewed) Selection

  • Andrews, B et al. (1999). Characteristics, context and consequences of memory recovery among adults in therapy. Brit J Psychiatry 175:141-146. Abstract: One-hundred and eight therapists provided information on all clients with recovered memories seen in the past three years, and were interviewed in detail on up to three such clients. Of a total of 690 clients, therapists reported that 65% recalled child sexual abuse and 35% recalled other traumas, 32% started recovering memories before entering therapy. According to therapists' accounts, among the 236 detailed client cases, very few appeared improbable and corroboration was reported in 41%. Most (78%) of the clients' initial recovered memories either preceded therapy or preceded the use of memory recovery techniques used by the respondents.
  • Feldman-Summers, S., & Pope, K. S. (1994). The experience of forgetting childhood abuse: A national survey of psychologists. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62, 636-639. A national sample of psychologists were asked whether they had been abused as children and, if so, whether they had ever forgotten some or all of the abuse. Almost a quarter of the sample (23.9%) reported childhood abuse, and of those, approximately 40% reported a period of forgetting some or all of the abuse. The major findings were that (a) both sexual and nonsexual abuse were subject to periods of forgetting; (b) the most frequently reported factor related to recall was being in therapy; (c) approximately one half of those who reported forgetting also reported corroboration of the abuse; and (d) reported forgetting was not related to gender or age of the respondent but was related to severity of the abuse. Summary: 330 psychologists. 24% physical and 22% sexual abuse. Of those abused, 40% did not remember at some time. 47% had corroboration. 56% said psychotherapy aided in recall. Differences between those who first recalled abuse in therapy and those who recalled it elsewhere were not significant.
  • Westerhof, Y et al. (2000). Forgetting child abuse: Feldman-Summers and Pope's (1994) study replicated among Dutch psychologists. Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, 7, 220-229. In a replication of Feldman-Summers and Pope's (1994) national survey of American psychologists on 'forgetting' childhood abuse, a Dutch sample of 500 members of the Netherlands Institute of Psychologists (NIP) were asked if they had been abused as children and, if so, whether they had ever forgotten some or all of the abuse for some significant period of time. As compared to the 23.9% in the original study, 13.3% reported childhood abuse. Of that subgroup, 39% (as compared to 40% in the original study) reported a period of forgetting some or all of the abuse for a period of time. British Journal of Psychiatry 172: 296-307 (1998)