Problems of Forensic Sciences 2017 Vol. 112 (CXII) 177-194


Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland

The aim of this paper is to discuss the concept of false memories of traumatic events from childhood and explain what mechanisms may underlay their formation. It also focuses on the effects of the recovered memory therapy.
In the 1980s and 1990s, as a result of using the so-called memory work techniques, hundreds or even thousands of people were made to believe that in the past they had become victims of various forms of sexual abuse by people from their immediate environment. After “recovering” false memories, adult children were taking their parents, uncles, former teachers and neighbours to court, which often resulted in convictions and the awarding of high damages. The creation of such false memories could have been caused by: reconstruction of a false event in accordance with existing schemes and autobiographical knowledge, error in monitoring the source of information and social pressure.
The popularity of recovered memory therapy and the epidemic of the diagnosis of repressed memories resulted in breaking the family ties, wrongful convictions, sentencing innocent people for hurting their own children, and immense suffering of people who were convinced that they had been abused in the past.

Słowa kluczowe
False memory; Recovered memory therapy; Repression; Trauma.

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