In Search of Recovered Memories

Amy C. Tsai, Sarah K. Morsbach, Elizabeth F. Loftus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


This chapter surveys the legal status of repression and the present trends toward third-party liability for clinicians diagnosing or misdiagnosing repressed memory. The scientific evidence for the phenomenon is reviewed and suggestions for practice and research are proposed. The question of whether repressed memories exist is not just one of scientific interest. Real lives are affected when people claim to recover such memories of childhood abuse. At trial, a jury may have to decide whether abuse, and repression of that abuse, occurred or not. Before the case is brought to trial, however, the court must first determine whether the repressed memory claim can be heard at all. If there is no core set of symptoms that can accurately predict when someone has been abused, then clinicians face a formidable task if they wish to ascertain whether a patient might have a repressed memory of abuse. This is a different problem from determining how best to treat someone who has known from the beginning that he or she was abused, where the malleability of memory may be a nonissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Forensic Psychology
Subtitle of host publicationResource for Mental Health and Legal Professionals
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9780080495101
ISBN (Print)9780125241960
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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