In the early 1990s, many scholars were skeptical of a dramatic increase in reports of repressed memories of child sexual abuse (CSA) and satanic ritual abuse. Despite this apparent attitudinal change, a large percentage of nonresearchers endorsed the validity of repressed memories, to some degree, and endorsed their therapeutic retrieval. This difference remained significant when we controlled for gender and age in a regression model, β = 0.385, p = .010. These differing beliefs can have profound consequences for clinical practice and the judicial system. Explaining memory wars. These results hold implications for the potential resolution of the science-practice gap and for the dissemination of memory research in the training of mental-health professionals. Merckelbach and Wessel (1998) found that 94% of students and 96% of psychotherapists in The Netherlands endorsed belief in the existence of repressed memory. OVER-1 can be upgraded with Battle Memory and Armor Parts found scattered around the worlds he visit, having infinite potential. Those with more years of college education were more skeptical about repressed memory, and students in psychology-related majors were more likely than other students to agree that memory can be unreliable. Given heightened media coverage of the potential dangers of the uncritical acceptance of repressed memory (e.g., Bikel, 1995; Hassler, 1994; Maran, 2010; Nathan, 2011), one might predict that society as a whole, including psychologists, has become more skeptical regarding the accuracy of repressed memories. The memory wars. Of those invited by e-mail, 15.5% participated fully, a rate comparable with that of other studies that have recruited participants via e-mail or listserv (e.g., 17% in Magnussen & Melinder, 2012; 13% in Wise, Safer, & Maro, 2011). Table 2. Notably, we found a wide rift between the beliefs of psychologists with a research focus and those of practitioners and nonprofessionals. Our data for 2011–2012 are from board-certified psychotherapists (n = 53) who were members of the American Academy of Clinical Psychology. A possible confound in the comparison of undergraduates is that the students in 1995 were from the University of Kentucky, whereas our 2011 sample was from the University of California, Irvine. Factor 1 appeared to reflect belief in repressed memory and memory permanence. Erratum: are the "memory wars" over? Similarly, because more empathic people are more likely to adopt other people’s points of view, we predicted that empathy would be positively associated with belief in the accuracy of sincere and emotionally laden repressed-memory reports. Results From Study 1: Percentage of Undergraduates Who Agreed With Eight Statements About Memory. We compared current beliefs with past beliefs using questions from previous studies (Golding et al., 1996; Gore-Felton et al., 2000; Yapko, 1994a, 1994b). For example, therapists who believe that traumatic memories can be repressed may develop treatment plans that differ dramatically from those developed by practitioners who do not hold this belief. Error bars represent standard errors. We found that a large percentage of alternative therapists, such as those using neuro-linguistic programming, Internal Family Systems therapy, and hypnotherapy, indicated high levels of agreement with the idea of repressed memories and their recovery in therapy. Women were more likely than men to agree that memories are often repressed, that repressed memories can be retrieved in therapy, and that all experience is stored in memory. Those with more years of college education were more skeptical about repressed memory, and students in psychology-related majors were more likely than other students to agree that memory can be unreliable. A similar pattern emerged for the statement that repressed memories can be retrieved accurately in therapy; the research-oriented groups reported less than 25% agreement, and the other groups reported at least 43% agreement. This chapter examines the history and memory of the Nanjing Massacre in Japan from 1989 to the present. Supplemental MaterialAdditional supporting information may be found at http://pss.sagepub.com/content/by/supplemental-data. Supplemental MaterialAdditional supporting information may be found at http://pss.sagepub.com/content/by/supplemental-data. Similarly, Golding, Sanchez, and Sego (1996) found that many undergraduates believed in repressed memories to some degree. Results for additional groups are presented in Table S2.3 in the Supplemental Material. In 1996, Gore-Felton et al. Several of the nine memory-belief questions were developed for the purposes of this study, and others were drawn from the literature (see Table S1.2 in the Supplemental Material). These findings indicate that a sizable portion of the general public and students believed in repressed memory. The email address and/or password entered does not match our records, please check and try again. Does psychotherapy determine treatment decisions in private practice? Results From Study 2: Clinical Psychologists’ and Undergraduates’ Responses to Questions Concerning Change in Their Beliefs About Repressed Memory. Dammeyer, Nightingale, and McCoy (1997) found that 71% of Psy.D. Conversely, if one assumes that skepticism regarding repressed memory requires a combination of certain cognitive skills and exposure to memory research, then education, intelligence, and critical thinking could predict such skepticism. Moreover, little is known about the extent to which different groups of mental-health professionals hold different beliefs regarding memories, including recovered memories. The p values are from a t test (left graph) and two-proportion z tests (right graph). The Memory Wars: Freud's Legacy in Dispute is a 1995 book that reprints articles by the critic Frederick Crews critical of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, and recovered-memory therapy. The “war” has been fought over the Freudian concept of repressed memories, in which traumatic events are unconsciously suppressed in the mind. The memory of the trauma can return later in life, usually beginning in the form of sensations or emotions, sometimes involving "flashbacks" during which the person feels like they are reliving the memory. Known as the “memory wars” of the 1990s, the dispute was sparked in part by the case of an American man called George Franklin, who was accused by his … Participants’ beliefs about memory fallibility tended to be interrelated to varying degrees (see Table S1.3 in the Supplemental Material). Two possible confounds in the comparison of psychotherapists were age and gender. The “memory wars” of the 1990s refers to the controversy between some clinicians and memory scientists about the reliability of repressed memories. In Study 1, we asked undergraduates about their beliefs about memory and administered individual difference measures to ascertain the correlates of memory beliefs. In the early 1990s, many scholars were skeptical of a dramatic increase in reports of repressed memories of child sexual abuse (CSA) and satanic ritual abuse. Participants first read an explanation of what a repressed memory is (see the note to Table 5). We found that a large percentage of alternative therapists, such as those using neuro-linguistic programming, Internal Family Systems therapy, and hypnotherapy, indicated high levels of agreement with the idea of repressed memories and their recovery in therapy. Request PDF | On Jul 1, 2014, L. Patihis and others published Erratum to Are the "Memory Wars" Over? When asked whether hypnosis can help individuals to recover memories as far back as birth, 59% of M.A.s and 48% of Ph.D.s agreed that it can. If so, teaching methods that target these characteristics could be implemented in parallel with dissemination of memory research. Researchers began to investigate beliefs about memory among clinicians, wondering if some of these beliefs were fueling suggestive therapeutic practices. In Study 2, we found less belief in repressed memory among mainstream clinicians today compared with the 1990s. A possible confound in the comparison of undergraduates is that the students in 1995 were from the University of Kentucky, whereas our 2011 sample was from the University of California, Irvine. Participants completed individual difference (including personality) questionnaires, cognitive tasks (some not analyzed in this study), and questions about their beliefs about how memory works. A potentially more fruitful long-term approach may be to focus the education of students and trainees on the science of memory, including repressed memory. Another gap in the literature concerns whether personality and attitudinal variables predict beliefs about memory. Finally, a limitation of our analysis of individual difference predictors of memory beliefs in Study 1 is that undetected third variables could have been responsible for the associations. Declaration of Conflicting InterestsThe authors declared that they had no conflicts of interest with respect to their authorship or the publication of this article. About a quarter of the students (24%) indicated that therapists who encourage individuals to recall repressed memories use legitimate methods, and 73% believed that these therapists both use legitimate methods and implant false memories. Participants responded to each question on a Likert scale: 0 = not likely at all; 5 = somewhat likely; 10 = extremely likely. Descriptions, Recruitment, and Participation Rates of the Participant Groups in Study 2, Table 3. The p values are from two-proportion z tests comparing the two groups’ percentage of agreement with each of the three statements. (2000), and Golding et al. Critical-thinking ability (West, Toplak, & Stanovich, 2009; see also Supplemental Method for Study 1 in the Supplemental Material) was significantly associated with responses to five of the nine memory-belief items. Gold, S. N. (2010). Thus, a substantial gap between the memory beliefs of clinical-psychology researchers and those of practitioners persists today. Comparison of mainstream clinical-psychology practitioners’ beliefs about recovered memory in 1996–1997 and 2011–2012. Simons and Chabris (2011; see also Simons & Chabris, 2012) found that 63% of the U.S. public agreed that memory works like a video camera, 48% agreed that memory is permanent, and 55% believed that memory can be enhanced through hypnosis. It is possible that people who did not respond to requests to complete the survey hold different beliefs about memory than those who did. These results point to a shift toward greater skepticism regarding recovered memory over the past two decades. Indeed, survey data suggest that many practitioners rate clinical experience, intuition, and consistency of clinical observations with their theoretical orientation as more important than published research in informing their treatment decisions (Pignotti & Thyer, 2012; Stewart & Chambless, 2007; von Ransom & Robinson, 2006). Table 2. For more information view the SAGE Journals Sharing page. The email address and/or password entered does not match our records, please check and try again. Please check you selected the correct society from the list and entered the user name and password you use to log in to your society website. In Study 1, we found The Memory Wars : Freud's Legacy in Dispute [Crews, Frederick, Et Al] on Amazon.com. 3. Of the clinical psychologists and undergraduates who indicated that their views on repressed memory had changed, most reported that they had become more skeptical about repressed memory. Results for additional groups are presented in Table S2.4 in the Supplemental Material. In 1996, Gore-Felton et al. In particular, both Internal Family Systems therapists, who accept the view that the mind can house multiple indwelling identities, each with its own store of episodic memories, and hypnotherapists, many of whom place credence in the causal influence of unconscious memories, may be positively disposed toward the use of techniques designed to unearth ostensibly recovered recollections. Participants completed individual difference (including personality) questionnaires, cognitive tasks (some not analyzed in this study), and questions about their beliefs about how memory works. Norwegian judges’ knowledge of factors affecting eyewitness testimony:... La mémoire traumatique : postulats historiques et débats contemporains, Dammeyer, D. D., Nightingale, N. N., McCoy, M. L. (, Golding, J. M., Sanchez, R. P., Sego, S. A. Nevertheless, this issue bears important ramifications for memory research, as well as for the translation of such research into the therapy room and courtroom. Some society journals require you to create a personal profile, then activate your society account, You are adding the following journals to your email alerts, Did you struggle to get access to this article? Groups that contained research-oriented psychologists and memory experts expressed more skepticism about the validity of repressed memories relative to other groups. More recently, Magnussen and Melinder (2012) surveyed licensed psychologists in Norway and found that 63% believed that recovered memories of traumatic events are real. Table 5 shows the percentage of participants, by group, who agreed to some extent with two key statements about repressed memories (for similar patterns in responses to additional repressed-memory questions, see Tables S2.6 and S2.8 in the Supplemental Material). Participants first read an explanation of what a repressed memory is (see the note to Table 5). Results From Study 1: Percentage of Undergraduates Who Agreed With Eight Statements About Memory. Does psychotherapy determine treatment decisions in private practice? Higher scores for fantasy proneness and absorption were associated with greater agreement that some people have photographic memory and that some individuals can remember events back to birth. . Memory wars are fought when there are conflicting historical narratives that are essential to the identity of a group. Participants’ beliefs about memory fallibility tended to be interrelated to varying degrees (see Table S1.3 in the Supplemental Material). The figure also shows that agreement that memories can be recovered as far back as birth has declined in this group over the same period (p < .001). Aside from a few cemeteries from the Franco-Prussian and U.S. Civil Wars—Gettysburg is the prime example—statues of victorious generals on mounted steeds had been typical war monuments. In Study 2, we investigated beliefs in various groups (psychology researchers, clinical psychologists, alternative therapists, the public, and undergraduates) about the workings of memory. Also, research could investigate whether memory beliefs can be influenced by modifying individual difference characteristics that are relatively malleable. In Study 1, we found that undergraduates displayed high levels of belief in repressed memory and the possibility of accurate memory recovery in therapy. The debate regarding the existence of repressed memories and the reliability of memory can be taxing given the intense feelings, such as injustice, that are felt on both sides. The responses reinforce the possibility that clinical psychologists and undergraduates have become more skeptical of repressed memory. Pushing distinct and divergent stories, these groups are today engaged in what Ching terms a "narrative battle" for control over the memory of the war. Comparison of undergraduates’ beliefs about repressed memory in 1995 and 2011. The “memory wars” of the 1990s refers to the controversy between some clinicians and memory scientists about the reliability of repressed memories. (For further information on the individual difference measures, see Supplemental Method for Study 1 and Table S1.1 in the Supplemental Material.) This site uses cookies. Are the Memory Wars Over? : Recent Findings and New Data on Delayed Recall. A survey, Heuristics and biases as measures of critical thinking: Associations with cognitive ability and thinking dispositions, What U.S. law enforcement officers know and believe about eyewitness factors, eyewitness interviews and identification procedures, Measuring dissociation: Comparison of alternative forms of the dissociative experiences scale, Suggestibility and repressed memories of abuse: A survey of psychotherapists’ beliefs, Bulletin de l'Académie Nationale de Médecine, Are the “Memory Wars” Over? The survey took about 20 min to complete and was conducted online at a time and place of participants’ choosing. In Study 2, we investigated beliefs in various groups (psychology researchers, clinical psychologists, alternative therapists, the public, and undergraduates) about the workings of memory. 1. Engelhard, Iris M., Richard J. McNally, and Kevin van Schie. Comparison of undergraduates’ beliefs about repressed memory in 1995 and 2011. Some clinicians may view highly confident self-reports of memory recovery as prima facie evidence for the accuracy of repressed memories, whereas most researchers presumably view controlled research as required for such an inference. Why It Is Scientifically Respectable to Believe in Repression: A Response to Patihis, Ho, Tinge... Unconscious Repressed Memory Is Scientifically Questionable. They then rated the accuracy of such memories on a Likert scale (1 = never accurate, 10 = always accurate) and indicated whether they believed therapists’ methods for helping patients recall repressed memories are legitimate. Access to society journal content varies across our titles. clinicians and 58% of Ph.D. clinicians indicated a strong belief in repressed memories, whereas only 34% of experimental psychologists did. We compared current beliefs with past beliefs using questions from previous studies (Golding et al., 1996; Gore-Felton et al., 2000; Yapko, 1994a, 1994b). These individuals worried that there was little if any credible scientific support for the idea that people can experience repeated traumatic events for years, remain unaware of these events, and reliably recover them in therapy (e.g., Holmes, 1990; Loftus, 1993). During a memory test he got all correct answers, no one had done that before. All authors approved the final version of the manuscript for submission. In our second study, we investigated views regarding memory repression among psychologists, the general public, and undergraduates. Are the "memory wars" over? If so, teaching methods that target these characteristics could be implemented in parallel with dissemination of memory research. The widening scientist-practitioner gap: A view from the bridge, Openness to absorbing and self-altering experiences (“absorption”), a trait related to hypnotic susceptibility, Who is providing what type of psychotherapy to eating disorder clients? Table 1 shows the percentage of undergraduates who indicated agreement with each of eight statements about how memory works. Characteristics of the Participant Groups in Study 2. Factor 2 appeared to reflect beliefs regarding the unreliability and reconstructive nature of memory in general (see Supplemental Results for Study 1 in the Supplemental Material for a summary of the factor analysis and how the factor composites correlated with individual differences). Results for additional groups are presented in Table S2.5 in the Supplemental Material. Figure 2 presents clinical-psychology practitioners’ responses to a recovered-memory vignette. A Scientist-Practitioner Gap in Beliefs About Repressed Memory, Lilienfeld, Ritschel, Lynn, Cautin, & Latzman, in press, http://pss.sagepub.com/content/by/supplemental-data, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0022757, http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0051876. A potentially more fruitful long-term approach may be to focus the education of students and trainees on the science of memory, including repressed memory. A scientist-practitioner gap in beliefs about repressed memory. The data for 2011 are from the current study (n = 406). In our second study, we investigated views regarding memory repression among psychologists, the general public, and undergraduates. (2006) found that, although some laypersons’ ideas about memory (e.g., memory for dramatic vs. ordinary events) were consistent with existing evidence from memory research, 45% of respondents with a college degree believed that frightening and dramatic memories can be blocked; approximately 40% of respondents with a college degree believed that people who have committed murder can repress the memory of the crime. These differing beliefs can have profound consequences for clinical practice and the judicial system. Sign in here to access free tools such as favourites and alerts, or to access personal subscriptions, If you have access to journal content via a university, library or employer, sign in here, Research off-campus without worrying about access issues. (For more details on the recruitment of participants, see Supplemental Method for Study 2 in the Supplemental Material.) If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. As in Study 1, a general pattern of intercorrelation among various memory beliefs emerged. This material gradually becomes more integrated until it resembles other memories. Participants responded to each question on a Likert scale: 0 = not likely at all; 5 = somewhat likely; 10 = extremely likely. View or download all the content the society has access to. Compared with students in nonpsychology majors, those in psychology-related majors agreed more that memory is unreliable and agreed less that people can remember events all the way back to birth. (See Supplemental Results for Study 2 in the Supplemental Material for a summary of the factor analysis and how other groups scored on the composite factor variable.). The latter finding suggested that beliefs can translate into therapists’ treatment plans. Figure 1 shows that the percentage of Ph.D. clinicians who agreed with the statement that hypnotically recovered memories reflect events that actually happened was marginally lower in 2011–2012 compared with 1992 (two-sample z test, p = .059). clinicians and 58% of Ph.D. clinicians indicated a strong belief in repressed memories, whereas only 34% of experimental psychologists did. Substantial gap between the beliefs of psychologists with a research focus and those of practitioners persists today, check... 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