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The Memory Debate

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Implanted Memories or Imagination

The following is taken from the article: "debunking false memory myths in sexual abuse: by Wendy J. Murphy"
"Many people have claimed that memories have been implanted by therapists that have caused their loved ones to make false claims of sexual abuse against them. This is often refered to as false memory syndrome. No empirical evidence to substantiate the existence False memory sydrome has proven to be reliable.

Although it is clear that false allegations of abuse have been made against people, there is no scientific evidence that the mind is capable of being 'implanted' with false memories of sexual abuse.

In a recent study, scientists tried to mislead adult test subjects to believe that they had been lost in a shopping mall as children. They also tried to convince them that they had experienced rectal enemas as children.

While three out of twenty subjects erroneously claimed to have been lost in the mall ( a relatively common and familiar experience) no subjects would erroneously agree that they had had a rectal enema."

It would appear that research shows that it is not possible to implant a traumatic memory. This means that many of the allegations of implanting memories made against professionals are unfounded. Yet one has to say that the threat of litigation has been positive, as it has made most professionals review the standards of their practice and their approach to clients. The need to raise standards of practice should be ongoing, however some professionals appear to have opted out of the memory debate by academic denial, thereby leaving no reason for therapy and in consequence no litigation risks.

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