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Can J Psychiatry. 2005 Nov;50(13):823-8.

Traumatic memories are not necessarily accurate memories.

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Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine 92697-7085, USA.


Some therapists, as well as other commentators, have suggested that memories of horrific trauma are buried in the subconscious by some special process, such as repression, and are later reliably recovered. We find that the evidence provided to support this claim is flawed. Where, then, might these memory reports come from? We discuss several research paradigms that have shown that various manipulations can be used to implant false memories--including false memories for traumatic events. These false memories can be quite compelling for those who develop them and can include details that make them seem credible to others. The fact that a memory report describes a traumatic event does not ensure that the memory is authentic.

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