People believe it is plausible to have forgotten memories of childhood sexual abuse.

Journal Article

Pezdek, Blandon-Gitlin, and Gabbay (2006) found that perceptions of the plausibility of events increase the likelihood that imagination may induce false memories of those events. Using a survey conducted by Gallup, we asked a large sample of the general population how plausible it would be for a person with longstanding emotional problems and a need for psychotherapy to be a victim of childhood sexual abuse, even though the person could not remember the abuse. Only 18% indicated that it was implausible or very implausible, whereas 67% indicated that such an occurrence was either plausible or very plausible. Combined with Pezdek et al.s' findings, and counter to their conclusions, our findings imply that there is a substantial danger of inducing false memories of childhood sexual abuse through imagination in psychotherapy.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Berntsen, D; Rubin, DC

Published Date

  • August 2007

PubMed ID

  • 17972748

Pubmed Central ID

  • 17972748