Jan 20 2011

Memory Wars: Exploring the Science in the Recovered Memory Debate

Recovered memories refers to the phenomenon of human beings forgetting aspects of their personal history, then remembering it later, often decades later.

Although therapists have witnessed recovered memories of their clients in the sanctity of the therapist room, mistakes made by overzealous therapists, law enforcement officers and others evaluating possible abuse gave rise to research and legal advocacy efforts to cast doubt on the reliability of recovered memories.

The debate about the reliability of recovered memories became known as “the memory wars.”

I am dedicating the next series of posts to an exploration of this debate. There are many prominent researchers who you will hear about, especially Elizabeth Loftus, Bessel Van der Kolk, Jim Hopper, Ken Pope, Richard McNally, Ross Chiet among others, along with the “talking points” of the skeptics and deniers of recovered memory.
To start off, we need to understand the culture giving rise to this debate.

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