Taking the middle line: Can we accommodate both fabricated and recovered memories of sexual abuse?

TitleTaking the middle line: Can we accommodate both fabricated and recovered memories of sexual abuse?
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsSchooler J.W., Bendikson M., Ambadadar Z.
EditorConway M.
Book TitleRecovered Memories and False Memories
PublisherOxford University Press

In this chapter we attempt some 1st steps toward developing a line of analysis that may open a meaningful dialogue between researchers and practitioners regarding the issues of both fabricated and recovered memories of sexual abuse. We 1st review the substantial scientific evidence suggesting the powerful role that memory suggestions have in planting fictitious memories of sexual abuse. We then turn to the existing evidence for recovered memories of abuse. Our conclusion from this section is that although the documented evidence for the factual basis of such memories may be scant, this absence of support may be more a reflection of the quality and extent of prior investigations rather than of the existence of the phenomenon itself. In support of this view, we introduce 4 cases of recovered memories of sexual abuse for which we personally were able to find corroborating evidence. Ss for the 4 cases were a 39-yr-old male, a 40-yr-old female, a 51-yr-old female, and a 41-yr-old female. We consider these cases in light of the various mechanisms that might contribute to the production of recovered memory experiences. This analysis suggests that recovered memories may involve a disparate set of mechanisms, some of which require new twists to old findings, and some of which may require the discovery of processes potentially more unique to this situation.

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