The Myth of Repressed Memory (Paperback)

False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse

By Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, Katherine Ketcham

St. Martin's Griffin, 9780312141233, 312pp.

Publication Date: January 15, 1996

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback, Chinese (8/1/2010)

List Price: 17.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


According to many clinical psychologists, when the mind is forced to endure a horrifying experience, it has the ability to bury the entire memory of it so deeply within the unconscious that it can only be recalled in the form of a flashback triggered by a sight, a smell, or a sound. Indeed, therapists and lawyers have created an industry based on treating and litigating the cases of people who suddenly claim to have "recovered" memories of everything from child abuse to murder.

This book reveals that despite decades of research, there is absolutely no controlled scientific support for the idea that memories of trauma are routinely banished into the unconscious and then reliably recovered years later. Since it is not actually a legitimate psychological phenomenon, the idea of "recovered memory"--and the movement that has developed alongside it--is thus closer to a dangerous fad or trendy witch hunt.

About the Author

Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, is also the author of Witness for the Defense and Eyewitness Testimony.

Katherine Ketcham is also the co-author of Under the Influence, The Spirituality of Imperfection, Beyond the Influence, The Power of Empathy, and other books.

Praise For The Myth of Repressed Memory: False Memories and Allegations of Sexual Abuse

“Astute, scientifically informed, and compassionate towards the movement's casualties.” —The New York Review of Books

“The descriptions [of] the 'therapeutic' practices by which memories are recovered are a frightening indictment of at least some members of the burgeoning industry.” —The New York Times Book Review

“[A] thoughtful, scholarly book . . . concerned with exposing the damage caused by, and the falsity of, the practice of recovered-memory therapy.” —The Washington Post Book World