Repressed Memory

Essay by sw33tcheekzCollege, UndergraduateA-, December 2006

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Does repressed memory exist or not? And if it exists, is it accurate? This question has been long asked but it is still remains unanswered. The repressed memory debate has been the most controversial in the psychiatric field since the early 1980s. There have been many studies conducted to inquire whether repressed memories are accurate and whether suggestion can create false memories. Those who don't support repressed memory to be valid argued that people in most cases do not forget about a traumatic event that has happened to them. I agreed with this argument because usually when something that major occur, like childhood sexual abuse, the impact is too great to forget.

Memories of traumatic events might get fuzzy as time passes, but it will not completely fade away. People might not remember every single detail, but they should recall the core of the trauma. Like the story of Elizabeth Loftus whose mother drowned in the pool, she remembers the tragic event of her mother's death because it was a major event that has impacted her life.

But she couldn't remember the minor detail of whether or not it was her who found her mother's body because through time this memory becomes vaguer. What's important is that she remembers the essential part of the event. However, when her relative told her it was her that found her mother's body and we know that this is not true, she creates a false memory of her actually finding the body. Elizabeth Loftus's story is a good example to argue that repressed memory is not accurate. Just simply through a relative's suggestion, she has created a false memory as if it really did happen. I believe repressed memory is a way for people to shelter themselves from the pain of the...