Notes Psychology

Myth 13: Individuals Commonly Repress the Memories of Traumatic Experiences (50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology)

Many people believe that traumas are the source of repressed memories. This idea is portrayed in movies like The Butterfly Effect (2004) and Batman Returns (1995).

These views can be traced to Freud’s belief that hysteria and neuroses are created by the repression of sexual molestation in childhood. He saw repression as an unconscious way of forgetting unpleasant memories.

There are informal reports that show people recovering decades-old memories of abuse, but after reviewing 60 years of research, David Holmes (1990) suggested that the repression has not been validated with experimental research. In 2003, Richard McNally concluded that support for repressed memories is weak.

Contrary to the repression hypothesis, research shows that events like the Holocaust and natural disasters are remembered well – almost too well, in the form of disturbing flashbacks. McNally suggests that children who have been abused are at first confused by the behavior of the perpetrators, and only years later are able to realize that they were abused.

"Silence is the best expression of scorn" - G.B. Shaw

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