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Repressed Memories
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Source: The American Psychological Association (APA)

About the Source: The APA is the world’s leading professional organization for psychologists with over 150,000 members. Its mission is multi-faceted and extensive, supporting work in the areas of science, practice, education, and public policy. It has established the standards of ethics, conduct, and education for the profession.

URL Content: This document provides an excellent summation of the controversy surrounding the phenomenon of recovered memories. Entitled Questions and Answers about Memories of Childhood Abuse, the article specifically addresses the recovery of memories of sexual molestation in childhood thought to have been repressed. Released at the direction of the APA Board of Directors and reflective of a variety of reports and documents, the summation is in part the product of an APA Working Group specifically charged with the investigation of memories of childhood abuse. Topic headings covered in the summation include: Can a memory be forgotten and then remembered? Can a ‘memory’ be suggested and then remembered as true? What’s the Bottom Line? What Further Research Is Needed? If there is so much controversy about childhood memories of abuse, should I still seek help from a mental heath provider if I believer I have such a memory? What should I know about choosing a psychotherapist to help me deal with a childhood memory or any other issue? How can I expect a competent psychotherapist to react to a recovered memory? What credentials should I look for when selecting a mental health provider? This Public Affairs section document purports to link to a brochure entitled, How to Choose a Psychologist, but the link doesn’t work and the brochure apparently is no longer available at the APA site. Many other resources on a variety of other topics are, however, available at the public affairs home page entitled Psychology in Daily Life ( ).

Home Website: The APA site ( is a multi-purpose site serving both its members (with information germane exclusively to them), as well as the general public. It is a gold mine of psychological information. Home page buttons provide access to APA member, institutional, and public publications. Also featured are QuickLinks for important information for members, psychologists, students, and the media. The News section links to, among other items, the Monitor on Psychology, a well-known APA monthly publication with articles on a variety of issues. The Psychology Topics block on the home page leads to a variety of resources on each of the topics featured including Monitor and articles, journal articles, press releases, books, brochures, and outside resources. For a taste of psychology applied to daily living, The Consumer Help Center can’t be beat.

Links/Resources: Each of the featured Psychology Topics links to several external websites ripe with more information. Links to other relevant sites (such as state and provincial psychological associations) are embedded throughout the APA website. APA produces a cornucopia of resources with descriptions accessible through the publications buttons on the home page.

Contact Information: Consult the Contact Us section for a long list of specific contacts contingent on the nature of the information desired.
American Psychological Association
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(800) 374-2721
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Source: Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D.

About the Source: Dr. Loftus is generally regarded as one of the foremost researchers of human memory in the world. Currently Dr. Loftus holds the title of Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Irvine, in the Departments of Psychology & Social Behavior; Criminology, Law & Society; and Cognitive Sciences, as well as being a Fellow at the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory. She continues on as well as Affiliate Professor of the Psychology Department and School of Law at the University of Washington where she taught for almost 30 years. Her online vitae is 32 pages long and speaks to her many endeavors focusing on memory research which won her a lifetime achievement award from both the American Psychological Association (APA), as well as the American Psychological Society (APS).

URL Content: The article at this site, The Reality of Repressed Memories, was published in the APA journal, American Psychologist, in 1993. Loftus begins her article with the case of Eileen Franklin, whose father, George, was prosecuted for the murder of Eileen’s childhood friend based on a memory for the event that Eileen said she recovered 20 years later. Loftus goes on to cite other instances of recovered repressed memories recounted from popular magazines and newspapers, from letters she has received, and from other legal cases, then she begins to answer a series of questions about repressed memories based on research findings. These queries include: How common are claims of repressed memory? How do people in general and jurors in particular react to claims of recently unburied repressed memories? What are the memories like? How authentic are they?

Home Website: This article is one of several available at Loftus’s faculty site ( This article was a precursor to her book, The Myth of Repressed Memory, published the following year. At the site, several other selected publications are available and categorized by date: since 2000, from 1990-1999, and before 1900. A brief summary of Loftus’s research interests and her online vitae are also posted.

Links/Resources: The primary link on this faculty page is to Loftus’s University of Washington webpage (, which has more articles. There are also links to a few articles written about her work.

Contact Information:
Dr. Elizabeth Loftus
2393 Social Ecology II
University of Calif. Irvine, CA 92679

Source: False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF)

About the Source: The FMSF was founded in 1992 as a result of a case in which an adult daughter claimed to recover a memory of incest in therapy and subsequently cut off all relations with her family. This phenomenon in some form had been repeated in countless families and led to the germination of the FMSF, a non-profit organization focusing on memory and therapy practice issues. The Professional and Advisory Board of the Foundation is comprised of a highly respected group of clinicians and researchers representing the fields of psychology, psychiatry, social work, law, and education.

URL Content: This Frequently Asked Questions section lists information about 30 topics. A few of the topics focus on the FMSF itself (what it is, how it got started, how it is financed); the remainder address a host of issues related to false memory syndrome (FMS). First and foremost is what false memory syndrome is. The syndrome is defined as a " condition in which a person’s identity and interpersonal relationship are centered around a memory of traumatic experience which is objectively false but in which the person strongly believes." The person recovers this memory during therapy, hence the connection of this foundation to the topic of repressed memory. Many of the topics covered address the kinds of memories recovered and most importantly the issue of accuracy of these memories.

Home Website: The FMSF home page ( has links to information dealing with different aspects of the syndrome. Hyperlinks are provided to citations and/or papers exploring the connections between the syndrome and both hypnosis and multiple personality disorder. Additional links are provided to Legal Interests and to the Houston Trial in particular involving therapists accused of planting false memories in their clients. A wide variety of resources are provided under Therapy Topics including a section entitled: What Have Professional Organizations Said About Recovered Memories. The Focus on Science hyperlink connects to, among other items, papers by well-known memory researcher Harrison Pope, Jr., of Harvard Medical School. The Retractors Stories/Studies link provides a poignant look at how FMS has impacted individuals who feel they were suffering from it. FMSF has a newsletter and current and archived editions are available at the site.

Links/Resources: A separate Links or Resources hyperlink is not provided. Instead links to other websites and resources are embedded throughout the website.

Contact Information:
False Memory Syndrome Foundation
1955 Locus Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-5766

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