Repressed and Recovered Memories

While one cannot deny that repressed and recovered memories have had an effect on individuals, their families, and our legal system, little credible evidence exists for massive repression. Moreover, most claims of repression and recovered memories have alternative explanations such as ordinary forgetting or exposure to suggestive situations. This entry examines issues relating to claims of repressed and recovered memories, the role of these claims in the legal system, research that bears on these claims, and alternative explanations for what might appear to be repressed and recovered memories.

At the end of the 19th century, Sigmund Freud popularized the term repression to describe a mechanism by which horrifically traumatic events are pushed into some inaccessible corner of the unconscious. Later, they may return to consciousness. The ...

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