Thursday, February 08, 2007

Are repressed memories a recent development?
The idea of repressed memory -- when traumatic events are wiped from a person's conscious memory but resurface years later -- has had a chequered past. Some have cited it as evidence in court, yet others dismiss it as nothing more than psychiatric folklore.

A new study adds a literary layer of evidence to the debate. To see how long the idea of repressed memories have been around, a group of psychologists and literature scholars turned to historical writings.

They could not find a single description of repressed memory, also referred to as dissociative amnesia, in fiction or factual writing before 1800.
Perhaps we've repressed our memories of them prior to 1800...