Memory experts' beliefs about repressed memory

Memory. 2018 Oct 7;1-6. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2018.1532521. Online ahead of print.


What we believe about how memory works affects the decisions we make in many aspects of life. In Patihis, Ho et al. [Patihis, L., Ho, L. Y., Tingen, I. W., Lilienfeld, S. O., & Loftus, E. F. (2014). Are the "memory wars" over? A scientist-practitioner gap in beliefs about repressed memory. Psychological Science, 25, 519-530.], we documented several group's beliefs on repressed memories and other aspects of how memory works. Here, we present previously unreported data on the beliefs of perhaps the most credible minority in our dataset: memory experts. We provide the statistics and written responses of the beliefs for 17 memory experts. Although memory experts held similarly sceptical beliefs about repressed memory as other research-focused groups, they were significantly more sceptical about repressed memory compared to practitioners, students and the public. Although a minority of memory experts wrote that they maintained an open mind about repressed memories - citing research such as retrieval inhibition - all of the memory experts emphasised the dangers of memory distortion.

Keywords: Memory beliefs; clinical psychology; law; memory experts; repressed memory.