If someone asks me, "Where were you on September 11, 2001?" I would be able to give that person an accurate answer. It seems impossible to ever forget the events of that day. How could one forget such a traumatic day? It seems like life changing events would stay with a person forever. However, there are many victims of, let's say, child abuse that cannot remember the actual abuse. The memories of such horrors have been erased so there is no recollection of the events. Being a skeptic, I am not sure if I would be able to forget such horrific events. Some say that repressed memories can also be recovered, through therapeutic treatment. It seems odd how people can forget certain traumas, but still able to remember others. How does memory actually work, and how can one selectively repress certain memories?
How Do You Not Remember?
Some self-proclaimed skeptics of recovered memory claim that traumatic childhood events simply cannot be forgotten at the time only to be remembered later in life. This claim has been made repeatedly by the Advisory Board members of a prominent advocacy group for parents accused of sexual abuse, the so-called False Memory Syndrome Foundation. The research project described in this article identifies and documents the growing number of cases that have been ignored or distorted by such skeptics. To date, this project has documented 35 cases in which recovered memories of traumatic childhood events were corroborated by clear and convincing evidence."At present there are no scientifically valid criteria that would generally permit the reliable differentiation of true recovered memories of sexual abuse from pseudo memories." MPA Position Paper, (1995)
The concept was originated by Sigmund Freud in his 1896 essay Zur Ätiologie der Hysterie ("On the etiology of hysteria"), however Freud himself abandoned his theory between 1897-1905, and during 1920-1923 replaced it with his impulse-based concept of Id, Super-ego, and Ego....