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Memories that have been blocked out of consciousness because they are emotion ally painful, according to Freudian psychoanalytic theory. When such memories are later recalled, either spontaneously or through psychotherapy, they are referred to as recovered memories. In the Freudian context, repression is considered to be a phenomenon in direct contrast to suppression, whereby undesirable thoughts or memories are intentionally pushed out of conscious awareness. Like his other theories, Sigmund Freud developed the theory of repression from clinical case studies rather than from true experimental investigation. Much of the recent research on repression revolves around the area of recovered traumatic memories via naturalistic studies. For instance, researchers may follow a cohort of abused children over the course of many years (i.e., longitudinal design) comparing their ...

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