Date Written: 1995-03-01
Publisher: Skeptical Inquirer
Year Published: 1995
Pages: 14pp Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX7132
Like the witch-hunt trials of old, people today are being accused and even imprisoned on 'evidence' provided by memories from dreams and flashbacks -- memories that didn't exist before therapy.
Is it time to admit that the repression folklore is simply a fairy tale? The tale may be appealing, but what of its relationship to science? Unfortunately, it is partly refuted, partly untested, and partly untestable. This is not to say that all recovered memories are thus false. Responsible skepticism is skepticism about some claims of recovered memory. It is not blanket rejection of all claims. People sometimes remember what was once forgotten; such forgetting and remembering does not mean repression and de-repression, but it does mean that some recently remembered events might reflect authentic memories. Each case must be examined on its merits to explore the credibility, the timing, the motives, the potential for suggestion, the corroboration, and other features to make an intelligent assessment of what any mental product means.