What have cognitive researchers tended to focus on when doing memory research? Therefore, like psychotherapists, undergraduates seem to show an increase in skepticism about recovering repressed memories. The "memory wars" of the 1990s refers to the controversy between some clinicians and memory scientists about the reliability of repressed memories. The p values are from two-proportion z tests comparing the two groups’ percentage of agreement with each of the three statements. These differing beliefs can have profound consequences for clinical practice and the judicial system. Comparison of mainstream clinical-psychology practitioners’ beliefs about recovered memory in 1996–1997 and 2011–2012. 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. The responses reinforce the possibility that clinical psychologists and undergraduates have become more skeptical of repressed memory. What are the memory wars? 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. 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. In O. Bikel (Executive producer), Repressed memory and other controversial origins of sexual abuse allegations: Beliefs among psychologists and clinical social workers, Betrayal-trauma: Traumatic amnesia as an adaptive response to childhood abuse, Psychologists’ beliefs and clinical characteristics: Judging the veracity of childhood sexual abuse memories, Memories/nightmare in Haiti/TKO [Television series episode], Individual differences in imagination inflation, The evidence for repression: An examination of sixty years of research, Why many clinical psychologists are resistant to evidence-based practice: Root causes and constructive remedies, What psychologists know and believe about memory: A survey of practitioners, The Creative Experiences Questionnaire (CEQ): A brief self-report measure of fantasy proneness, Assumptions of students and psychotherapists about memory, Novel unsupported and empirically supported therapies: Patterns of usage among licensed clinical social workers, What people believe about how memory works: A representative survey of the U.S. population, Common (mis)beliefs about memory: A replication and comparison of telephone and Mechanical Turk survey methods. The survey also included new items, such as questions asking if, when, and why participants’ beliefs about repressed memory had changed. The purpose of this memory game: The purpose of this memory game is to memorize the locations of the cards in the game and to make pairs of cards by turning them over 2 by 2. (1996). 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. In this respect, the broader dissemination of basic and applied memory research within graduate programs in clinical psychology and training programs in other mental-health professions may be a helpful step, although research will be needed to determine the effectiveness of this approach for narrowing the research-practice gap. 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. The War profoundly shaped historical memory by changing the way we commemorate wars, as shown beautifully in Jay Winter’s Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning. 27th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. The e-mail addresses that you supply to use this service will not be used for any other purpose without your consent. 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. At least some of the sharp differences in memory beliefs that we identified may be both an effect and a cause of the broader scientist-practitioner gap in mental health. Also, the 1992–1997 sample had a higher percentage of women (51%) compared with our sample (16.1%). 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). Nevertheless, this approach may have its limits, especially given that some clinicians and researchers may disagree fundamentally on what constitutes adequate “evidence” (see Lilienfeld et al., in press). As shown in Figure 3, ratings of the accuracy of repressed memories were not significantly different between undergraduates in 1995 and undergraduates in 2011, t(1013) = 1.46, p = .14. L. Patihis, L. Y. Ho, and E. F. Loftus contributed to the study design. A related potential limitation is the possibility of differences in the types of psychotherapists, undergraduates, or both, in the samples over time. This site uses cookies. In a survey of 2,000 adult Norwegians, Magnussen et al. On the other side of the debate were those who questioned the existence of repressed memory. (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.). Patihis, L., Ho, L. Y., Tingen, I. W., Lilienfeld, S. O., & Loftus, E. F. (2014). L. Patihis, S. O. Lilienfeld, L. Y. Ho, and I. W. Tingen drafted the manuscript, and all five authors provided critical revisions. By Daniel Britten August 20, 1997 22 Revelations about Freud are flowing fast. clinicians and 58% of Ph.D. clinicians indicated a strong belief in repressed memories, whereas only 34% of experimental psychologists did. . These results point to a shift toward greater skepticism regarding recovered memory over the past two decades. By continuing to browse clinicians and 58% of Ph.D. clinicians indicated a strong belief in repressed memories, whereas only 34% of experimental psychologists did. 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). 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. View or download all the content the society has access to. Despite this apparent attitudinal change, a large percentage of nonresearchers endorsed the validity of repressed memories, to some degree, and endorsed their therapeutic retrieval. (For more details on the recruitment of participants, see Supplemental Method for Study 2 in the Supplemental Material.) Nevertheless, the possibility of this pattern occurring simultaneously across the multiple and diverse professional groups we measured seems unlikely. See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions. Therefore, like psychotherapists, undergraduates seem to show an increase in skepticism about recovering repressed memories. The controversy regarding the concept of repressed memories, also known as the “memory wars” (Crews, 1995), came to the fore in the 1990s. As shown in Figure 3, ratings of the accuracy of repressed memories were not significantly different between undergraduates in 1995 and undergraduates in 2011, t(1013) = 1.46, p = .14. If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Participants were recruited online through the university subject pool (undergraduates) or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (the general public) or were recruited by e-mail invitation (psychologists, life coaches, and therapists). (1996). Table 5 underscores the high level of belief in repressed memory among alternative therapists, the public, and undergraduates (see also Tables S2.6 and S2.8 in the Supplemental Material). For example, if people who accept unsubstantiated ideas about memory are low on a given characteristic, the dissemination of memory research could be designed so that it either does not require high levels of that skill or trait or is aimed at improving it. Characteristics of the Participant Groups in Study 2. 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. 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. Data on these and other individual differences should shed light on which characteristics predispose people to certain memory beliefs, and may provide clues to how best to disseminate memory research. 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). These findings suggest that the memory wars are not over. Participants with higher scores on the Creative Experiences Questionnaire (fantasy proneness; Merckelbach, Horselenberg, & Muris, 2001) and the Tellegen Absorption Scale (Tellegen & Atkinson, 1974) disagreed more with the statement that memory is unreliable and agreed more that memory is stored permanently. Similarly, Golding, Sanchez, and Sego (1996) found that many undergraduates believed in repressed memories to some degree. Table 5. Here, we present the highlights of analyses of predictors of memory beliefs. Divided memories [Television series episode]. The “memory wars” of the 1990s refers to the controversy between some clinicians and memory scientists about the reliability of repressed memories. Gold, S. N. (2010). In Study 2, we found less belief in repressed memory among mainstream clinicians today compared with the 1990s. Table 2. 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. Memory wars are fought when there are conflicting historical narratives that are essential to the identity of a group. As mentioned earlier, we asked participants if and when their views about repressed memory had changed (see Table 4). Descriptions, Recruitment, and Participation Rates of the Participant Groups in Study 2, Table 3. 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. . We did so to ascertain whether beliefs about repressed memory have changed over the past two decades. Higher SAT scores predicted less agreement with statements that repressed memory can be retrieved in therapy and that some people have true photographic memories. A scientist-practitioner gap in beliefs about repressed memory. The scientist-practitioner gap (Lilienfeld, Ritschel, Lynn, Cautin, & Latzman, in press; Tavris, 2003) is a concern in any discipline that focuses on the treatment of clients. Error bars represent standard errors. Table 3 shows demographic information for the participant groups that are the focus of this article (results for the other groups are available in the Supplemental Material). 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. The memory wars. 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? Participants enrolled for a greater number of years in college tended to exhibit more skeptical beliefs. 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. Are repressed-memory skeptics any different from nonskeptics in terms of intelligence, rationality, and personality? 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). Testing and data collection were performed by L. Patihis and L. Y. Ho. For more information view the SAGE Journals Sharing page. 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. These findings suggest that the memory wars are not over. L. Patihis, L. Y. Ho, and E. F. Loftus contributed to the study design. 'Memory Wars': Polish, Russian Fight Over World War II Shifts To Auschwitz January 20, 2020 08:53 GMT By Mike Eckel; A museum now operates on the territory of … In Study 1, we found that undergraduates displayed high levels of belief in repressed memory and the possibility of accurate memory recovery in therapy. Memory Wars Over?3 high levels of fantasy proneness, dissociation, and absorp- tion appear to be prone to certain false memories (e.g., Heaps & Nash, 1999; see also Supplemental Method for Study 1 in the Supplemental Material available online), they are more inclined than others to accept the view that recovered memories are genuine and that memory is reli- able and permanent. Nevertheless, these battles may now be limited largely to discrete pockets of practicing clinicians, especially those with specific theoretical views regarding the nature of memory. The data for 1996–1997 are from members of the American Psychological Association (91% with doctoral degrees; n = 22 for the left-most question, n = 631 for the other four questions), and the data for 2011–2012 are from members of the American Academy of Clinical Psychology (n = 58; 98% with doctoral degrees). For assistance during data collection, we thank Stephany Debski, Stephanie Martinez, Patricia Place, and Maryanne Garry and Kazuo Mori (both from the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition). On average, the therapists indicated that CSA was “somewhat likely” in the case and that they would be “somewhat likely” to treat the client by attempting to recover memories of CSA. Sharing links are not available for this article. Nevertheless, we found comparable changes in skepticism over time across multiple items and groups (i.e., two independent groups of Ph.D. psychologists and a group of undergraduates). Are the Memory Wars Over (1) - Psychological Science http\/pss.sagepub.com Are the'Memory Wars Over A Scientist-Practitioner Gap in Beliefs About Study 1 revealed that surprisingly high percentages of undergraduates agreed with the concept of repressed memory, and this raised the question of whether there had been any change in beliefs about repressed memory over the past 2 decades. One potential remedy for narrowing the gap between researchers and practitioners in their memory beliefs is to encourage a dialogue between these groups. 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. The data for 2011 are from the current study (n = 406). Although the research we have summarized revealed some aspects of therapists’ and laypersons’ beliefs about how memory works, it is not known whether beliefs about repressed memory specifically have changed markedly in key groups from the heyday of the memory wars, and if so, how. 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). If so, teaching methods that target these characteristics could be implemented in parallel with dissemination of memory research. In Study 1, we found that undergraduates displayed high levels of belief in repressed memory and the possibility of accurate memory recovery in therapy. Login failed. The p values are from a t test (left graph) and two-proportion z tests (right graph). 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. Does psychotherapy determine treatment decisions in private practice? Surprisingly, lower dissociation scores (Dissociative Experiences Scale-C; Wright & Loftus, 1999) were associated with greater agreement that repressed memories can be accurately recovered in therapy or hypnosis. (, Gore-Felton, C., Koopman, C., Thoresen, C., Arnow, B., Bridges, E., Spiegel, D. (, Lilienfeld, S. O., Ritschel, L. A., Lynn, S. J., Cautin, R. L., Latzman, R. D. (, Magnussen, S., Andersson, J., Cornoldi, C., De Beni, R., Endestad, T., Goodman, G. S., . The samples from the 1990s had lower mean age compared with our sample (1992 sample: mean age = 44 years; 1996–1997 sample: mean age = 49.5 years; our 2011–2012 sample: mean age = 65.8 years, so these participants were about 46 in 1992 and 51 in 1996–1997). Notably, we found a wide rift between the beliefs of psychologists with a research focus and those of practitioners and nonprofessionals. Researchers began to investigate beliefs about memory among clinicians, wondering if some of these beliefs were fueling suggestive therapeutic practices. 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. Participants first read an explanation of what a repressed memory is (see the note to Table 5). Another gap in the literature concerns whether personality and attitudinal variables predict beliefs about memory. The data for 1992, reported in Yapko (1994a), are from a Ph.D. subsample (n = 208) who were recruited from psychotherapy conventions. 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. Zimmer, H. (, Merckelbach, H., Horselenberg, R., Muris, P. (, West, R. F., Toplak, M. E., Stanovich, K. E. (. The survey took about 20 min to complete and was conducted online at a time and place of participants’ choosing. To investigate whether such disagreement persists, we compared various groups’ beliefs about memory and compared their current beliefs with beliefs expressed in past studies. 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. Therefore, the apparent increase in skepticism appears to be genuine, and not confounded by age and gender. 1. Table 1 shows the percentage of undergraduates who indicated agreement with each of eight statements about how memory works. Declaration of Conflicting InterestsThe authors declared that they had no conflicts of interest with respect to their authorship or the publication of this article. The “memory wars” of the 1990s refers to the controversy between some clinicians and memory scientists about the reliability of repressed memories. Factor 1 appeared to reflect belief in repressed memory and memory permanence. In Study 1, we asked undergraduates about their beliefs about memory and administered individual difference measures to ascertain the correlates of memory beliefs. View or download all the content the society has access to. Participants completed individual difference (including personality) questionnaires, cognitive tasks (some not analyzed in this study), and questions about their beliefs about how memory works. Undergraduates (N = 390) at the University of California, Irvine, participated in a two-session study for course credit (74.9% female, 25.1% male; mean age = 20.2 years). 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. We explored this question in our next analysis. Results for additional groups are presented in Table S2.4 in the Supplemental Material. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click on download. The data for 1995 are from Golding, Sanchez, and Sego (1996; n = 609). One could develop educational content that is appealing and understandable to people of varying levels of a characteristic that predicts memory beliefs (e.g., critical thinking, empathy). The Memory Wars : Freud's Legacy in Dispute [Crews, Frederick, Et Al] on Amazon.com. The scientist-practitioner gap (Lilienfeld, Ritschel, Lynn, Cautin, & Latzman, in press; Tavris, 2003) is a concern in any discipline that focuses on the treatment of clients. 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