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The "memory wars" of the 1990s refers to the controversy between some clinicians and memory scientists about the reliability of repressed memories. To investigate whether such disagreement persists, we compared various groups' beliefs about memory and compared their current beliefs with beliefs expressed in past studies. In Study 1, we found high rates of belief in repressed memory among undergraduates. We also found that greater critical-thinking ability was associated with more skepticism about repressed memories. In Study 2, we found less belief in repressed memory among mainstream clinicians today compared with the 1990s. Groups that contained research-oriented psychologists and memory experts expressed more skepticism about the validity of repressed memories relative to other groups. Thus, a substantial gap between the memory beliefs of clinical-psychology researchers and those of practitioners persists today. These results hold implications for the potential resolution of the science-practice gap and for the dissemination of memory research in the training of mental-health professionals.
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Psychological Science
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DOI: 10.1177/0956797613510718
2014 25: 519 originally published online 13 December 2013Psychological Science
Lawrence Patihis, Lavina Y. Ho, Ian W. Tingen, Scott O. Lilienfeld and Elizabeth F. Loftus
Are the ''Memory Wars'' Over? A Scientist-Practitioner Gap in Beliefs About Repressed Memory
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Research Article
The controversy regarding the concept of repressed
memories, also known as the “memory wars” (Crews,
1995), came to the fore in the 1990s. On one side of the
debate were individuals who believed that memories of
traumatic events can be repressed, such that the memo-
ries remain inaccessible for years and yet can be recov-
ered accurately in therapy (e.g., Blume, 1990; Freyd,
1994). On the other side of the debate were those who
questioned the existence of repressed memory. These
individuals worried that there was little if any credible
scientific support for the idea that people can experience
repeated traumatic events for years, remain unaware of
these events, and reliably recover them in therapy (e.g.,
Holmes, 1990; Loftus, 1993).
These differing beliefs can have profound conse-
quences for clinical practice and the judicial system. For
example, therapists who believe that traumatic memories
can be repressed may develop treatment plans that differ
dramatically from those developed by practitioners who
do not hold this belief. In the courtroom, beliefs about
memory often determine whether repressed-memory tes-
timony is admitted into evidence.
Psychologists’ Beliefs
In the early 1990s, many scholars were skeptical of a dra-
matic increase in reports of repressed memories of child
sexual abuse (CSA) and satanic ritual abuse. Researchers
began to investigate beliefs about memory among clini-
cians, wondering if some of these beliefs were fueling sug-
gestive therapeutic practices. For example, in 1992, Yapko
510718PSSXXX10.1177/0956797613510718Patihis et al.Memory Wars Over?
research-article2013
Corresponding Author:
Lawrence Patihis, 4201 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway,
Irvine, CA 92697
E-mail: lpatihis@uci.edu
Are the “Memory Wars” Over? A Scientist-
Practitioner Gap in Beliefs About
Repressed Memory
Lawrence Patihis1, Lavina Y. Ho2, Ian W. Tingen1,
Scott O. Lilienfeld3, and Elizabeth F. Loftus1
1Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California, Irvine; 2Department of Behavioral
Sciences and Education, Pennsylvania State University; and 3Department of Psychology, Emory University
Abstract
The “memory wars” of the 1990s refers to the controversy between some clinicians and memory scientists about the
reliability of repressed memories. To investigate whether such disagreement persists, we compared various groups’
beliefs about memory and compared their current beliefs with beliefs expressed in past studies. In Study 1, we found
high rates of belief in repressed memory among undergraduates. We also found that greater critical-thinking ability
was associated with more skepticism about repressed memories. In Study 2, we found less belief in repressed memory
among mainstream clinicians today compared with the 1990s. Groups that contained research-oriented psychologists
and memory experts expressed more skepticism about the validity of repressed memories relative to other groups.
Thus, a substantial gap between the memory beliefs of clinical-psychology researchers and those of practitioners
persists today. These results hold implications for the potential resolution of the science-practice gap and for the
dissemination of memory research in the training of mental-health professionals.
Keywords
memory beliefs, repressed memory, hypnosis, clinical psychology, individual differences
Received 6/18/13; Revision accepted 10/7/13
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520 Patihis et al.
(1994a, 1994b) found that 34% of M.A.-level psychothera-
pists and 23% of Ph.D.s agreed that traumatic memories
recovered during hypnosis “objectively must actually have
occurred” (Yapko, 1994a, p. 168). When asked whether
hypnosis can help individuals to recover memories as far
back as birth, 59% of M.A.s and 48% of Ph.D.s agreed that
it can. Dammeyer, Nightingale, and McCoy (1997) found
that 71% of Psy.D. clinicians and 58% of Ph.D. clinicians
indicated a strong belief in repressed memories, whereas
only 34% of experimental psychologists did. Merckelbach
and Wessel (1998) found that 94% of students and 96% of
psychotherapists in The Netherlands endorsed belief in
the existence of repressed memory.
In 1996, Gore-Felton et al. (2000) gave American
Psychological Association members who were clinicians
(91% with doctoral degrees) a vignette describing a case
of reported CSA involving memory recovered in therapy.
On average, the therapists indicated that CSA was “some-
what likely” in the case and that they would be “some-
what likely” to treat the client by attempting to recover
memories of CSA. The latter finding suggested that beliefs
can translate into therapists’ treatment plans. More
recently, Magnussen and Melinder (2012) surveyed
licensed psychologists in Norway and found that 63%
believed that recovered memories of traumatic events are
real. These findings indicate a lack of skepticism about
repressed memory in a large number of clinicians.
Laypersons’ Beliefs
In a survey of 2,000 adult Norwegians, Magnussen et al.
(2006) found that, although some laypersons’ ideas about
memory (e.g., memory for dramatic vs. ordinary events)
were consistent with existing evidence from memory
research, 45% of respondents with a college degree
believed that frightening and dramatic memories can be
blocked; approximately 40% of respondents with a col-
lege degree believed that people who have committed
murder can repress the memory of the crime. Simons and
Chabris (2011; see also Simons & Chabris, 2012) found
that 63% of the U.S. public agreed that memory works
like a video camera, 48% agreed that memory is perma-
nent, and 55% believed that memory can be enhanced
through hypnosis.
In Garry, Loftus, and Brown’s (1994) survey of gradu-
ate students in education, health, and nursing courses,
88% of students stated that painful experiences can be
hidden in the unconscious, and 64% indicated that the
hidden memories can be emotionally damaging. Similarly,
Golding, Sanchez, and Sego (1996) found that many
undergraduates believed in repressed memories to some
degree. Students were asked to rate the accuracy of
repressed memories on a scale from 1 (never accurate)
to 10 (always accurate), and the mean rating was 5.6.
About a quarter of the students (24%) indicated that ther-
apists who encourage individuals to recall repressed
memories use legitimate methods, and 73% believed that
these therapists both use legitimate methods and implant
false memories. These findings indicate that a sizable
portion of the general public and students believed in
repressed memory.
The Present Study
Although the research we have summarized revealed
some aspects of therapists’ and laypersons’ beliefs about
how memory works, it is not known whether beliefs
about repressed memory specifically have changed mark-
edly in key groups from the heyday of the memory wars,
and if so, how. Given heightened media coverage of the
potential dangers of the uncritical acceptance of repressed
memory (e.g., Bikel, 1995; Hassler, 1994; Maran, 2010;
Nathan, 2011), one might predict that society as a whole,
including psychologists, has become more skeptical
regarding the accuracy of repressed memories.
Another gap in the literature concerns whether per-
sonality and attitudinal variables predict beliefs about
memory. Are repressed-memory skeptics any different
from nonskeptics in terms of intelligence, rationality, and
personality? Moreover, little is known about the extent to
which different groups of mental-health professionals
hold different beliefs regarding memories, including
recovered memories. To address these gaps in the litera-
ture, we investigated individual differences in memory
beliefs in undergraduates, how undergraduates’ and psy-
chologists’ current memory beliefs compare with these
groups’ beliefs in the 1990s, and how key groups of psy-
chologists and other mental-health professionals vary in
their views regarding repressed memory.
In Study 1, we asked undergraduates about their
beliefs about memory and administered individual differ-
ence measures to ascertain the correlates of memory
beliefs. In Study 2, we investigated beliefs in various
groups (psychology researchers, clinical psychologists,
alternative therapists, the public, and undergraduates)
about the workings of memory. We did so to ascertain
whether beliefs about repressed memory have changed
over the past two decades. To maximize comparability
with earlier results, we drew upon questions from earlier
surveys.
Study 1
In our first study, we examined what undergraduates
believe about how memory works and how memory
beliefs are interrelated. In addition, we examined poten-
tial individual difference correlates of these beliefs. For
example, we hypothesized that because people with
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Memory Wars Over? 521
high levels of fantasy proneness, dissociation, and absorp-
tion appear to be prone to certain false memories (e.g.,
Heaps & Nash, 1999; see also Supplemental Method for
Study 1 in the Supplemental Material available online),
they are more inclined than others to accept the view that
recovered memories are genuine and that memory is reli-
able and permanent. Similarly, because more empathic
people are more likely to adopt other people’s points of
view, we predicted that empathy would be positively asso-
ciated with belief in the accuracy of sincere and emotion-
ally laden repressed-memory reports. Conversely, if
one assumes that skepticism regarding repressed memory
requires a combination of certain cognitive skills and expo-
sure to memory research, then education, intelligence, and
critical thinking could predict such skepticism.
Data on these and other individual differences should
shed light on which characteristics predispose people to
certain memory beliefs, and may provide clues to how
best to disseminate memory research. For example, if
people who accept unsubstantiated ideas about memory
are low on a given characteristic, the dissemination of
memory research could be designed so that it either does
not require high levels of that skill or trait or is aimed at
improving it.
Method
Participants.Undergraduates (N = 390) at the Univer-
sity of California, Irvine, participated in a two-session
study for course credit (74.9% female, 25.1% male; mean
age = 20.2 years).
Materials and procedure.Participants completed
individual difference (including personality) question-
naires, cognitive tasks (some not analyzed in this study),
and questions about their beliefs about how memory
works. (For further information on the individual differ-
ence measures, see Supplemental Method for Study 1
and Table S1.1 in the Supplemental Material.) Several
of the nine memory-belief questions were developed for
the purposes of this study, and others were drawn from
the literature (see Table S1.2 in the Supplemental
Material).
Results and discussion
Prevalence of beliefs.Table 1 shows the percentage of
undergraduates who indicated agreement with each
of eight statements about how memory works. Rates of
agreement were high for two statements about repressed
memory. Eighty-one percent of the undergraduates
agreed to some extent that “traumatic memories are often
repressed,” and 70% agreed to some extent that repressed
memories can be “retrieved in therapy accurately.” More-
over, 86% indicated that CSA is plausible in the case of a
person who has emotional problems and needs therapy
even if he or she has no memory of such abuse.
Patterns of memory beliefs.Participants’ beliefs about
memory fallibility tended to be interrelated to varying
degrees (see Table S1.3 in the Supplemental Material). For
example, those who agreed that traumatic memories are
often repressed also tended to agree that repressed memo-
ries can be retrieved in therapy and that someone can be
a victim of CSA even without remembering it. An explor-
atory factor analysis reinforced these correlational find-
ings, revealing one main factor and a minor factor. Factor
1 appeared to reflect belief in repressed memory and
memory permanence. Factor 2 appeared to reflect beliefs
regarding the unreliability and reconstructive nature of
Table 1.Results From Study 1: Percentage of Undergraduates Who Agreed With Eight Statements
About Memory
Statement Agreement (%)
Traumatic memories are often repressed. 81.0
Repressed memories can be retrieved in therapy accurately. 70.0
Memory can be unreliable. 85.9
Hypnosis can accurately retrieve memories that previously were not
known to the person.
44.6
Memory is constantly being reconstructed and changed every time we
remember something.
90.8
Memory of everything experienced is stored permanently in brain, even
if we can’t access all of it.
66.7
Some people have true “photographic memories.” 87.7
With effort, we can remember events back to birth. 15.1
Note: Participants responded to each statement on a fully anchored 6-point Likert scale with the following
anchors: strongly disagree, disagree, slightly disagree, slightly agree, agree, and strongly agree. Participants who
chose slightly agree, agree, or strongly agree were counted as agreeing with a statement.
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522 Patihis et al.
memory in general (see Supplemental Results for Study 1
in the Supplemental Material for a summary of the factor
analysis and how the factor composites correlated with
individual differences). This finding implies that some par-
ticipants concurrently believed that (a) recovered memo-
ries exist (Factor 1), but also that (b) memory can
sometimes be unreliable or reconstructive (Factor 2).
Predictors of memory beliefs.Here, we present the
highlights of analyses of predictors of memory beliefs.
See Tables S1.4, S1.5, and S1.6 in the Supplemental Mate-
rial for summaries of the correlations of all our individual
difference measures with memory beliefs.
Gender.Women were more likely than men to agree
that memories are often repressed, that repressed memo-
ries can be retrieved in therapy, and that all experience
is stored in memory.
Education.Participants enrolled for a greater num-
ber of years in college tended to exhibit more skepti-
cal beliefs. Compared with students in nonpsychology
majors, those in psychology-related majors agreed more
that memory is unreliable and agreed less that people
can remember events all the way back to birth.
Intelligence and rationality.Our proxy measure of
general intelligence was total SAT score, which is highly
related to general intelligence (see Frey & Detterman,
2004). Higher SAT scores predicted less agreement with
statements that repressed memory can be retrieved in
therapy and that some people have true photographic
memories.
Critical-thinking ability (West, Toplak, & Stanovich,
2009; see also Supplemental Method for Study 1 in the
Supplemental Material) was significantly associated with
responses to five of the nine memory-belief items.
Participants who scored higher on our critical-thinking
composite were less likely to agree that repressed memo-
ries can be recovered accurately in therapy and during
hypnosis, that memory is photographic and permanently
stored, and that memory is reliable.
Personality measures.Participants with higher scores
on the Creative Experiences Questionnaire (fantasy
proneness; Merckelbach, Horselenberg, & Muris, 2001)
and the Tellegen Absorption Scale (Tellegen & Atkinson,
1974) disagreed more with the statement that memory
is unreliable and agreed more that memory is stored
permanently. Higher scores for fantasy proneness and
absorption were associated with greater agreement that
some people have photographic memory and that some
individuals can remember events back to birth. Surpris-
ingly, lower dissociation scores (Dissociative Experiences
Scale-C; Wright & Loftus, 1999) were associated with
greater agreement that repressed memories can be accu-
rately recovered in therapy or hypnosis. Empathy was the
only personality measure to predict endorsement of the
statement that traumatic memories are often repressed.
Conclusion.Study 1 revealed that surprisingly high
percentages of undergraduates agreed with the concept
of repressed memory, and this raised the question of
whether there had been any change in beliefs about
repressed memory over the past 2 decades. We explored
this question in our next study.
Study 2
In our second study, we investigated views regarding
memory repression among psychologists, the general
public, and undergraduates. We compared current beliefs
with past beliefs using questions from previous studies
(Golding et al., 1996; Gore-Felton et al., 2000; Yapko,
1994a, 1994b).
Method
Participants.A total of 1,376 participants completed
this study’s survey for course credit (undergraduates),
compensation (general public), or inclusion in a cash
raffle (psychologists, therapists). As shown in Table 2, we
recruited practicing psychotherapists, research psycholo-
gists, alternative therapists, undergraduate students, and
individuals from the general population. Participants
were recruited online through the university subject
pool (undergraduates) or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (the
general public) or were recruited by e-mail invitation
(psychologists, life coaches, and therapists). Of those
invited by e-mail, 15.5% participated fully, a rate compa-
rable with that of other studies that have recruited partici-
pants via e-mail or listserv (e.g., 17% in Magnussen &
Melinder, 2012; 13% in Wise, Safer, & Maro, 2011). (For
more details on the recruitment of participants, see Sup-
plemental Method for Study 2 in the Supplemental Mate-
rial.) Table 3 shows demographic information for the
participant groups that are the focus of this article (results
for the other groups are available in the Supplemental
Material).
Procedure and materials.The survey took about 20
min to complete and was conducted online at a time and
place of participants’ choosing. Participants rated several
items from previous studies by Yapko (1994a, 1994b),
Gore-Felton et al. (2000), and Golding et al. (1996). The
survey also included new items, such as questions asking
if, when, and why participants’ beliefs about repressed
memory had changed.
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Memory Wars Over? 523
Table 2.Descriptions, Recruitment, and Participation Rates of the Participant Groups in Study 2
Participant group How recruited
Number
e-mailed
Number who
participated
Experimental psychologists (cognitive
and social) in research universities
E-mail: addresses obtained from university
Web sites in each U.S. state and Canada
493 104 (21.1%)
Members of the Society for Applied
Research in Memory and Cognition
E-mail: e-mails sent via listserv by a
member of the society
213 70 (32.9%)
Members of the Society for a Science of
Clinical Psychology
E-mail: e-mails sent via listserv by a
member of the society
548 64 (11.7%)
Clinical-psychology researchers in U.S.
research universities
E-mail: addresses obtained from university
Web sites in each U.S. state
440 65 (14.8%)
Board-certified clinical-psychology
practitioners
E-mail: addresses obtained from the
American Academy of Clinical
Psychology (aacpsy.org)
516 58 (11.2%)
Psychoanalysts E-mail: addresses obtained from the
American Academy of Psychoanalysis
and Dynamic Psychiatry (aapsa.org)
and other psychoanalytic groupsa
357 82 (23.0%)
Neuro-linguistic programming
therapists
E-mail: addresses obtained from the
American Union of NLP (aunlp.org)
413 59 (14.3%)
Internal Family Systems therapistsbE-mail: addresses obtained from
the Center for Self Leadership
(selfleadership.org)
711 67 (9.4%)
Hypnotherapists (board certified) E-mail: addresses obtained from the
National Board for Certified Clinical
Hypnotherapists (natboard.com)
299 50 (16.7%)
Thought Field TherapistscE-mail: addresses obtained from the TFT
Foundation (atftfoundation.org)
48 10 (20.8%)
Scientologistsc (nonchurch Freezone
auditors)
E-mail: addresses obtained from the
International Freezone Association
(internationalfreezone.net)
24 4 (16.7%)
Primal therapistsc,d E-mail: addresses obtained from the
International Primal Association (e.g.,
primal-page.com)
29 2 (6.9%)
Undergraduates at the University of
California, Irvine
Signed up online for course credit 406
Members of the public in the United
States
Signed up on Mechanical Turk 112
Members of the public in the United
Kingdom
Signed up on Mechanical Turk 112
Members of the public in IndiacSigned up on Mechanical Turk 109
aE-mail addresses of psychoanalysts were also retrieved from the American Psychological Association’s Division 39 (apadivisions.org/
division-39), the American College of Psychoanalysts (acopsa.org), and some regional psychoanalytic groups in U.S. states (Florida, Illinois,
Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Texas). bAccording to Internal Family Systems therapists, personality “parts” can be created by trauma.
cFor the sake of brevity, results for these groups are reported in the Supplemental Material rather than in the main article. dPrimal therapy
involves reliving of repressed trauma.
Results and discussion
As in Study 1, a general pattern of intercorrelation among
various memory beliefs emerged. An exploratory factor
analysis revealed one main factor that could be summa-
rized as belief in repressed memory or memory reliabil-
ity. Clinical-psychology practitioners (M = 57.5, SD =
19.3) scored significantly higher than clinical-psychology
researchers (M = 43.9, SD = 15.5) on this composite factor
variable, t(75) = 3.37, p = .001. This difference remained
significant when we controlled for gender and age in a
regression model, β = 0.385, p = .010. (See Supplemental
Results for Study 2 in the Supplemental Material for a
summary of the factor analysis and how other groups
scored on the composite factor variable.)
Comparing past and present.Figure 1 shows that the
percentage of Ph.D. clinicians who agreed with the state-
ment that hypnotically recovered memories reflect events
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524 Patihis et al.
Table 3.Characteristics of the Participant Groups in Study 2
Age (years)
Gender
(% female)
SESa Highest degree (%)
Participant group M SD M SD NonebBachelor’s Master’s Doctorate
Experimental psychologists 50.7 12.8 40.5 7.3 1.3 0.0 1.7 0.0 98.3
SARMAC members 42.9 13.8 61.5 7.0 1.5 0.0 12.8 10.3 76.9
SSCP members 42.7 15.2 52.9 7.1 1.4 0.0 2.9 22.9 74.3
Clinical-psychology researchers 47.1 11.7 52.1 7.4 1.0 0.0 0.0 1.4 98.6
Clinical-psychology practitioners 65.8 9.8 16.1 7.4 1.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 100.0
Psychoanalysts 64.0 12.2 43.3 7.7 1.2 0.0 0.0 2.2 97.8
Neuro-linguistic programming
therapists
51.2 10.2 62.1 6.0 1.8 31.8 25.8 30.3 12.1
Internal Family Systems therapists 55.6 9.0 82.2 6.6 1.3 0.0 1.4 71.2 27.4
Hypnotherapists 59.7 9.9 52.8 6.6 1.4 0.0 0.0 50.9 49.1
Undergraduates 20.8 2.8 85.3 5.5 1.6 100.0c0.0 0.0 0.0
Public in the United States 36.4 12.7 54.5 5.0 1.6 66.1 26.8 6.2 0.9
Public in the United Kingdom 32.6 11.7 42.5 5.5 1.6 42.4 37.2 16.8 3.5
Overall sample 39.4 18.3 59.0 6.3 1.7 39.7 11.1 13.4 35.8
Note: SARMAC = Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition; SSCP = Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology.
aParticipants reported their family’s socioeconomic status (SES) relative to that of other people in their own country on a scale from 1 (lowest) to
10 (highest). bThis category includes participants who had not earned a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree. cUndergraduates were not asked
about their highest degree; given the age of this sample, it is assumed that the vast majority had not yet earned a higher degree.
23
48.2
86.2
11.3 9.4
96.2
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
When someone has a memory of a
trauma while in hypnosis, it
objectively must have occurred
Hypnosis can be used to recover
memories of actual events as far
back as birth
It is possible to suggest false
memories to someone who then
incorporates them as true memories
Percentage of Agreement
1992
2011–2012
p = .059
p < .001
p = .041
Fig. 1.Comparison of mainstream Ph.D. psychotherapists’ beliefs about hypnosis and false memories in 1992 and 2011–2012. The data for 1992,
reported in Yapko (1994a), are from a Ph.D. subsample (n = 208) who were recruited from psychotherapy conventions. Our data for 2011–2012 are
from board-certified psychotherapists (n = 53) who were members of the American Academy of Clinical Psychology. The p values are from two-
proportion z tests comparing the two groups’ percentage of agreement with each of the three statements. Results for additional groups are presented
in Table S2.5 in the Supplemental Material.
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Memory Wars Over? 525
that actually happened was marginally lower in 2011–
2012 compared with 1992 (two-sample z test, p = .059).
The figure also shows that agreement that memories can
be recovered as far back as birth has declined in this
group over the same period (p < .001). In contrast, agree-
ment with the statement that false memories are possible
appears to have increased significantly from 1992 to
2011–2012 (p = .041). These results point to a shift toward
greater skepticism regarding recovered memory over the
past two decades.
Figure 2 presents clinical-psychology practitioners’
responses to a recovered-memory vignette. Responses in
1996–1997 indicated significantly greater likelihood that the
woman in the vignette was sexually abused compared with
responses in 2011–2012, t(78) = 2.97, p = .004. Compared
with practitioners in 2012, practitioners in 1996–1997
reported that they would be significantly more likely to
assist the woman in retrieving memories of CSA, t(665) =
4.05, p < .001; to tell her that they suspect CSA, t(665) =
4.05, p < .001; and to assist her in retrieving additional CSA
memories using such techniques as hypnosis, t(665) = 2.03,
p = .043. These results provide converging evidence that
mainstream psychotherapists and clinical psychologists are
more cautious about recovering repressed memories today
compared with 50 to 20 years ago.
As shown in Figure 3, ratings of the accuracy of
repressed memories were not significantly different
between undergraduates in 1995 and undergraduates in
2011, t(1013) = 1.46, p = .14. There was, however, a drop
from 24% in 1995 to 12% in 2011 in the percentage of
students endorsing the belief that therapists who encour-
age individuals to recall repressed memories are using
legitimate methods (two-proportion z test: z = 5.07, p <
.001). The percentage of students agreeing that such ther-
apists implant false memories increased significantly
from 3% to 6% (z = 2.33, p = .019), although the more
recent percentage is still low. Therefore, like psychother-
apists, undergraduates seem to show an increase in skep-
ticism about recovering repressed memories.
Two possible confounds in the comparison of psycho-
therapists were age and gender. The samples from the
1990s had lower mean age compared with our sample
(1992 sample: mean age = 44 years; 1996–1997 sample:
mean age = 49.5 years; our 2011–2012 sample: mean
age = 65.8 years, so these participants were about 46 in
1992 and 51 in 1996–1997). Also, the 1992–1997 sample
had a higher percentage of women (51%) compared with
our sample (16.1%). A possible confound in the compari-
son of undergraduates is that the students in 1995 were
from the University of Kentucky, whereas our 2011 sam-
ple was from the University of California, Irvine. These
potential confounds led us to examine whether there is
converging evidence that undergraduates and clinicians
became more skeptical about repressed memory over
time. We explored this question in our next analysis.
As mentioned earlier, we asked participants if and
when their views about repressed memory had changed
(see Table 4). The responses reinforce the possibility that
clinical psychologists and undergraduates have become
more skeptical of repressed memory. Of the clinical psy-
chologists and undergraduates who indicated that their
views on repressed memory had changed, most reported
that they had become more skeptical about repressed
memory. Therefore, the apparent increase in skepticism
appears to be genuine, and not confounded by age and
gender.
Comparing researchers, clinicians, and layper-
sons today.Table 5 shows the percentage of partici-
pants, by group, who agreed to some extent with two
key statements about repressed memories (for similar
patterns in responses to additional repressed-memory
questions, see Tables S2.6 and S2.8 in the Supplemental
Material). Less than 30% of research-oriented psycholo-
gists (experimental psychologists, members of the Soci-
ety for Applied Research in Memory and Cognition,
members of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychol-
ogy, and clinical-psychology researchers) agreed that
“traumatic memories are often repressed.” In stark con-
trast, at least 60% of members of all other participant
groups agreed with this statement. A similar pattern
emerged for the statement that repressed memories can
be retrieved accurately in therapy; the research-oriented
groups reported less than 25% agreement, and the other
groups reported at least 43% agreement. This marked
split between researchers, on the one hand, and clini-
cians and the public, on the other, suggests that although
there are indications of more skepticism today than in the
1990s, a serious divide exists between researchers and
clinicians. This disjunction is clearly evident in Table 5.
On questions of how memory works, the general
public and students appear to agree more with clinicians
than with memory and cognition experts (members of
the Society for Applied Research in Memory and Cogni-
tion). Table 5 underscores the high level of belief in
repressed memory among alternative therapists, the pub-
lic, and undergraduates (see also Tables S2.6 and S2.8
in the Supplemental Material). These groups tended to
agree with the existence of repressed memories more
than did psychoanalysts. Among practitioners of alterna-
tive therapies, such as neuro-linguistic programming,
Internal Family Systems therapy, and hypnosis, more
than 80% of participants agreed to some extent that “trau-
matic memories are often repressed,” and more than half
agreed that “repressed memories can be retrieved in ther-
apy accurately.
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526
6.05
4.8
3.2
4.6
1.4
4.45
3.2 3.4 2.9
0.8
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
1996–1997
2011–2012
How likely is it that the client
was sexually abused?
How likely are you to assist the
client in retrieving memories of
childhood sexual abuse?
How likely are you to encourage
the client to seek evidence
which supports a history
of sexual abuse?
How likely are you to tell the
client that you suspect a history
of sexual abuse?
How likely are you to assist the
client in retrieving additional
sexual abuse memories?
How Likely
p = .004
p < .001
p = .60
p = .04
p < .001
Fig. 2.Comparison of mainstream clinical-psychology practitioners’ beliefs about recovered memory in 1996–1997 and 2011–2012. The data for 1996–1997 are from members of the
American Psychological Association (91% with doctoral degrees; n = 22 for the left-most question, n = 631 for the other four questions), and the data for 2011–2012 are from members
of the American Academy of Clinical Psychology (n = 58; 98% with doctoral degrees). The questions concerned a case study (Gore-Felton et al., 2000) in which a woman in therapy
recovered vivid memories of sexual abuse at age 2 by her father and had not been aware of that abuse before therapy. Participants responded to each question on a Likert scale: 0 = not
likely at all; 5 = somewhat likely; 10 = extremely likely. The p values are from t tests comparing responses to each question at the two times. Error bars represent standard errors. Results
for additional groups are presented in Table S2.3 in the Supplemental Material.
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Memory Wars Over? 527
5.56 5.39
0
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
1995 2011
Accuracy of Repressed Memories
p = .14
24
3
73
12
6
82
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
(a) Therapists use
legitimate methods
(b) Therapists implant
“false” memories
Both (a) and (b)
Percentage Agreement
1995
2011
p
<
.001
p = .019
p < .001
In your opinion, how
accurate are
repressed memories?
Some people feel therapists go through legitimate psychological
methods to get individuals to recall repressed memories while
others feel therapists implant “false” memories in their clients.
How do you feel?
Fig. 3.Comparison of undergraduates’ beliefs about repressed memory in 1995 and 2011. The data for 1995 are from Golding, Sanchez,
and Sego (1996; n = 609). The data for 2011 are from the current study (n = 406). Participants first read an explanation of what a repressed
memory is (see the note to Table 5). They then rated the accuracy of such memories on a Likert scale (1 = never accurate, 10 = always accu-
rate) and indicated whether they believed therapists’ methods for helping patients recall repressed memories are legitimate. The p values
are from a t test (left graph) and two-proportion z tests (right graph). Error bars represent standard errors. Results for additional groups are
presented in Table S2.4 in the Supplemental Material.
Table 4.Results From Study 2: Clinical Psychologists’ and Undergraduates’ Responses to Questions Concerning Change in
Their Beliefs About Repressed Memory
Participant group n
Percentage reporting that
their beliefs about the
repression of traumatic
memory had changed
Percentage who
now think repressed
memories could be
falsea
Percentage who
now think
repressed memories
could be truea
Mean year
of the reported
change (SD)
Clinical-psychology
researchers
56 50.0 83.3 16.7 1997 (7.4)
Clinical-psychology
practitioners
49 57.1 87.0 13.0 1987 (10.7)
Undergraduates 401 28.7 78.2 21.8 2008 (3.9)
Note: Tables S2.7 and S2.9 in the Supplemental Material reports results for additional related questions and other participant groups.
aThese percentages were calculated including only those participants who reported a change in their beliefs.
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528 Patihis et al.
General Discussion
In Study 1, we found that undergraduates displayed high
levels of belief in repressed memory and the possibility
of accurate memory recovery in therapy. Those with
more years of college education were more skeptical
about repressed memory, and students in psychology-
related majors were more likely than other students to
agree that memory can be unreliable. Higher scores on
our proxy measures of intelligence and rationality pre-
dicted a more skeptical pattern of beliefs. Students who
scored more highly on empathy, fantasy proneness, and
absorption were less skeptical about repressed memory.
In Study 2, which compared beliefs from the 1990s and
2011–2012, we found that undergraduates and mainstream
psychotherapists showed increased skepticism concerning
repressed memory over time. Despite this apparent atti-
tudinal change, a large percentage of nonresearchers
endorsed the validity of repressed memories, to some
degree, and endorsed their therapeutic retrieval. Notably,
we found a wide rift between the beliefs of psychologists
with a research focus and those of practitioners and
nonprofessionals.
Study 2 demonstrates a need for dissemination of
the findings of memory research, and Study 1 points to
individual differences that might be considered when
crafting dissemination efforts. One could develop educa-
tional content that is appealing and understandable to
people of varying levels of a characteristic that predicts
memory beliefs (e.g., critical thinking, empathy). Also,
Table 5.Results From Study 2: Percentage of Participants Indicating at Least Some Agreement With Key Statements About
Repressed Memory
Traumatic memories are often repressed
Repressed memories can be retrieved in
therapy accurately
Participant group n
Slightly
agree (%)
Agree
(%)
Strongly
agree (%) Total (%)
Slightly
agree (%)
Agree
(%)
Strongly
agree (%)
Total
(%)
Psychology professionals
with a research or
science focus
Experimental
psychologists
99 16.2 10.1 1.0 27.3 21.2 3.0 0.0 24.2
SARMAC members 70 17.1 8.6 0.0 25.7 14.3 2.9 0.0 17.1
SSCP members 62 8.1 9.7 0.0 17.7 8.1 1.6 0.0 9.7
Clinical psychologists
Researchers 62 12.9 4.8 1.6 19.4 11.3 4.8 0.0 16.1
Practitioners 58 36.2 17.2 6.9 60.3 32.8 10.3 0.0 43.1
Psychoanalysts 81 19.8 39.5 9.9 69.1 28.4 16.0 2.5 46.9
Alternative therapists
Neuro-linguistic
programming
therapists
59 18.6 49.2 22.0 89.8 35.6 32.2 6.8 74.6
Internal Family
Systems therapists
67 20.9 38.8 20.9 80.6 20.9 37.3 7.5 65.7
Hypnotherapists 50 22.0 32.0 28.0 82.0 20.0 22.0 12.0 54.0
Others
Undergraduates 406 34.0 34.0 9.6 77.6 46.8 15.8 2.0 64.5
General public in the
United States
112 31.2 38.4 14.3 83.9 40.2 34.8 2.7 77.7
General public in the
United Kingdom
112 31.2 34.8 11.6 77.7 48.2 17.9 1.8 67.9
Note: The total percentage of participants who indicated some agreement with each of the questions is highlighted in boldface. Earlier in the
survey, before these items were presented, participants had been given a definition of repressed memory as “something . . . that is so shocking
that the mind grabs hold of the memory and pushes it underground, into some inaccessible corner of the unconscious. There it sleeps for years,
or even decades, or even forever isolated from the rest of mental life. Then, one day, it may rise up and emerge into consciousness” (Loftus,
1993, p. 518; used in Golding, Sanchez, & Sego, 1996). The page showing these items reminded participants that repressed memory “means the
person cannot remember the traumatic event due to a defense against painful content.” Tables S2.1 and S2.2 in the Supplemental Material provide
a fuller listing of results for these and other questions, for all participant groups. Tables S2.6 and S2.8 in the Supplemental Material present results
showing similar patterns in responses to differently phrased repressed-memory questions. SARMAC = Society for Applied Research in Memory and
Cognition; SSCP = Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology.
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Memory Wars Over? 529
research could investigate whether memory beliefs can
be influenced by modifying individual difference charac-
teristics that are relatively malleable. If so, teaching meth-
ods that target these characteristics could be implemented
in parallel with dissemination of memory research.
One potential methodological limitation of these stud-
ies is that participants were self-selected. It is possible that
people who did not respond to requests to complete the
survey hold different beliefs about memory than those
who did. Given our main results, the largest concern
would be that repressed-memory skeptics might have
been most likely to volunteer in the research-related
groups, and nonskeptics might have been most likely
to volunteer in the groups containing practitioners.
Nevertheless, the possibility of this pattern occurring
simultaneously across the multiple and diverse profes-
sional groups we measured seems unlikely. A related
potential limitation is the possibility of differences in the
types of psychotherapists, undergraduates, or both, in the
samples over time. Nevertheless, we found comparable
changes in skepticism over time across multiple items and
groups (i.e., two independent groups of Ph.D. psycholo-
gists and a group of undergraduates). Moreover, most psy-
chologists and undergraduates who said they had changed
their beliefs about repressed memory reported shifts
toward increased skepticism. Finally, a limitation of our
analysis of individual difference predictors of memory
beliefs in Study 1 is that undetected third variables could
have been responsible for the associations.
The scientist-practitioner gap (Lilienfeld, Ritschel,
Lynn, Cautin, & Latzman, in press; Tavris, 2003) is a con-
cern in any discipline that focuses on the treatment of
clients. At least some of the sharp differences in memory
beliefs that we identified may be both an effect and a
cause of the broader scientist-practitioner gap in mental
health. Indeed, survey data suggest that many practitio-
ners rate clinical experience, intuition, and consistency of
clinical observations with their theoretical orientation as
more important than published research in informing
their treatment decisions (Pignotti & Thyer, 2012; Stewart
& Chambless, 2007; von Ransom & Robinson, 2006).
One potential remedy for narrowing the gap between
researchers and practitioners in their memory beliefs is to
encourage a dialogue between these groups. Nevertheless,
this approach may have its limits, especially given that
some clinicians and researchers may disagree fundamen-
tally on what constitutes adequate “evidence” (see
Lilienfeld et al., in press). Some clinicians may view
highly confident self-reports of memory recovery as
prima facie evidence for the accuracy of repressed mem-
ories, whereas most researchers presumably view con-
trolled research as required for such an inference.
A potentially more fruitful long-term approach may be
to focus the education of students and trainees on the
science of memory, including repressed memory. In this
respect, the broader dissemination of basic and applied
memory research within graduate programs in clinical
psychology and training programs in other mental-health
professions may be a helpful step, although research will
be needed to determine the effectiveness of this approach
for narrowing the research-practice gap.
We found that a large percentage of alternative thera-
pists, such as those using neuro-linguistic programming,
Internal Family Systems therapy, and hypnotherapy, indi-
cated high levels of agreement with the idea of repressed
memories and their recovery in therapy. These findings
suggest that the memory wars are not over. Nevertheless,
these battles may now be limited largely to discrete pock-
ets of practicing clinicians, especially those with specific
theoretical views regarding the nature of memory. In par-
ticular, both Internal Family Systems therapists, who
accept the view that the mind can house multiple indwell-
ing identities, each with its own store of episodic memo-
ries, and hypnotherapists, many of whom place credence
in the causal influence of unconscious memories, may be
positively disposed toward the use of techniques designed
to unearth ostensibly recovered recollections.
The debate regarding the existence of repressed mem-
ories and the reliability of memory can be taxing given
the intense feelings, such as injustice, that are felt on both
sides. Nevertheless, this issue bears important ramifica-
tions for memory research, as well as for the translation
of such research into the therapy room and courtroom.
In this respect, a better understanding of the nature and
scope of researchers’ and clinicians’ differing views
regarding memory is an essential first step toward nar-
rowing the persistent scientist-practitioner gap.
Author Contributions
L. Patihis developed the study concept. L. Patihis, L. Y. Ho, and
E. F. Loftus contributed to the study design. Testing and data
collection were performed by L. Patihis and L. Y. Ho. L. Patihis
and I. W. Tingen performed the data analysis and interpretation
under the supervision of E. F. Loftus and S. O. Lilienfeld.
L. Patihis, S. O. Lilienfeld, L. Y. Ho, and I. W. Tingen drafted the
manuscript, and all five authors provided critical revisions. All
authors approved the final version of the manuscript for
submission.
Acknowledgments
For assistance during data collection, we thank Stephany
Debski, Stephanie Martinez, Patricia Place, and Maryanne Garry
and Kazuo Mori (both from the Society for Applied Research in
Memory and Cognition).
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared that they had no conflicts of interest with
respect to their authorship or the publication of this article.
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530 Patihis et al.
Supplemental Material
Additional supporting information may be found at http://pss
.sagepub.com/content/by/supplemental-data
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Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS1
Supplemental Online Materials
Contents
Study 1 (pages 1–11)
Supplemental Method page 1–2
Supplemental Results (Factor Analysis) page 3–5
Table S1.1: Individual Differences α’s page 6
Table S1.2: Question Wording page 7
Table S1.3: Intercorrelations page 8
Table S1.4: Individual Difference & MB page 9
Table S1.5: Intelligence/Rationality & MB page 10
Table S1.6: Personality & MB page 11
Study 2 (page 12–25)
Supplemental Method page 12–13
Supplemental Results (Factor Analysis) page 13–16
Table S2.1: M, SD, n for 9 MB questions page 17
Table S2.2: Percent Agree w 9 MB qu. page 18
Table S2.3: Gore-Felton 1996/7 vs. 2011/2 page 19
Table S2.4: Golding 1995 vs. 2011/12 page 20
Table S2.5: Yapko 1992 vs. 2011/12 page 21
Table S2.6: Repressed Memory by Group page 22
Table S2.7: If, When, How Belief Changed page 23
Table S2.8: Media and Beliefs by Group page 24
Table S2.9: Influences of MB by Group page 25
Supplemental References page 26–27
Supplemental Method for Study 1
Each participant was recruited from the social science subject pool through the
university's Experimetrix.com account and they received three points of extra credit as
compensation for their time. Session 1 took about 30 minutes and involved participants coming
into a quiet lab, one at a time, and filling out individual difference measures on a computer.
Session 2 took about 1 hour and took place in the same lab one week later. In Session 2
participants completed further individual difference measures, several cognitive tasks that were
not analyzed in this study, and finally the memory belief questions. Of the 404 undergraduates
who started the study, 14 individuals did not complete Session 2 and were excluded, leaving 390
in the main analysis.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS2
The individual difference measures included some that have been used in memory
distortion research and we wanted to determine if they correlated with beliefs about repressed
memories and other aspects of memory. Participants completed the Creative Experiences Scale
(CEQ, also known as fantasy proneness; Merckelbach, Horselenberg, & Muris, 2001),
Dissociated Experiences Scale (DES-C; Wright & Loftus, 1999), Mindfulness Attention
Awareness Scale (MAAS; Brown & Ryan, 2003), and the Tellegen Absorption Scale (Tellegen
& Atkinson, 1974). We hypothesized that participants with high levels of dissociatability,
fantasy proneness, and absorption, who appear to be prone to memory distortion (e.g., Ost,
Granhag, Udell, & Hjelmsäter, 2008; Heaps & Nash, 1999; Platt, Lacey, Iobst, & Finkelman,
1998) would agree more with the possibility of repressed memory recovery.
We took self-reported SATs scores as a proxy measure for intelligence, as they are highly
related (r = .82) to psychometric g, general intelligence (Frey & Detterman, 2004). We used self-
reported college Grade Point Average (GPA) scores as a measure of academic achievement. As
measures of critical thinking/rationality, we administered the Flexible Thinking Scale (FTS;
Stanovich & West, 1997). The FTS contains ten questions measuring a general tendency toward
reflection, consideration of contrary evidence, ability to deal with ambiguity, and careful thought
(example item: “Difficulties can usually be overcome by thinking about the problem, rather than
through waiting for good fortune”). We constructed a composite of 9 questions previously used
to measure critical thinking skills (West, Toplak, & Stanovich, 2009; but also see Kirkpatrick &
Epstein, 1992; Levesque, 1986, 1989; Tversky & Kahneman, 1974; Stanovich, 2009) and
summed them to create a proxy measure of overall critical thinking ability.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS3
Supplemental Results for Study 1
Factor Analysis
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy.
.712
Bartlett's Test of Sphericity
Approx. Chi-Square
548
df
36
p
< .001
Factor Transformation Matrix
Factor
1
2
1
.996
.087
2
-.087
.996
From the Rotated Factor Matrix on the next page Factor 1 might be summarized as on
related to repressed and related concepts which would make repressed memories possible (such
as memory permanence and photographic memory). Factor 2 could be summarized as a measure
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS4
of the belief in the general unreliable and reconstructive model of memory, not directly related to
repressed memory.
Rotated Factor Matrix
Factor
1
2
Repressed memories can be retrieved in therapy accurately .672
The memory of everything we've experienced is stored
permanently in our brains, even if we can't access all of it.
.567
Hypnosis can accurately retrieve memories that previously
were not known to the person.
.565
Traumatic memories are often repressed .521
Some people have true "photographic memories." .459
Memory can be unreliable.
.620
Memory is constantly being reconstructed and changed every
time we remember something.
.482
How plausible do you think it is that this person is a victim of
CSA, even though the person is unable to remember the abuse
With effort, we can remember events back to birth.
Note. Extraction Method: Principal Axis Factoring. Rotation Method: Varimax with Kaiser Normalization. Rotation
converged in 3 iterations. Factors below .4 were suppressed, and 2 questions dropped out (bottom two rows).
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS5
Correlation of Factors with Individual Differences
Correlations between Individual Differences Measures and Participants’ Beliefs about How
Memory Works (N = 390)
Gender
Age
Year in
College
Psych
related
major
a
SES of
Family
Political
Orient.
b
Belief in
Danger.
World
Factor 1: Agreement
w Repressed Memory
& Memory Accuracy
.13** -.10* -.11* -.04 .01 -.09 .12*
Factor 2: Agreement
w Unreliable &
Reconstructive Mem
.05 .10* .12* .18*** -.02 .03 -.19***
Note.. aPsychology related majors coded 1, others coded 0. bAnchors are 1 (very liberal) to 7 (very conservative).
SAT
GPA
Flexible
Thinking
Critical
Thinking
Factor 1: Repr Memory / Accuracy
-.12
-.14**
-.06
-.22***
Factor 2: Unreliable/Reconstr Mem
.05
.11*
.18***
.16**
Fantasy Prone
(CEQ)
Dissociative
Experiences
(DES)
Mindfulness
(MAAS)
Absorption
(TAS)
Cognitive
Empathy
(BES)
Affective
Empathy
(BES)
Factor 1
.10*
-.09
.09
.09
.17**
.13*
Factor 2
-.12*
-.01
.02
-.05
-.01
-.09
Note. CEQ = Creative Experiences Questionnaire; DES = Dissociative Experiences Scale; MAAS = Mindfulness
Attention Awareness Scale; TAS = Tellegen Absorption Scale.
Somat
Trait
Anxiet.
Psych
Trait
Anxiet.
Stress
Suscept
Lack
Assert.
Impulsi
veness
Adven
.
Seek.
Detach
ment
Social
Desir.
E
mbitte
rment
Trait
Irritabl.
Mis-
trust
Verbal
Trait
Aggres
Physic
Trait
Aggres
Factor 1
.03
.04
-.02
.03
.06
.14**
-.03
.13*
-.01
.03
-.02
-.01
.07
Factor 2
-.07
-.10*
-.05
.03
-.07
-.07
-.01
.04
-.11*
-.09
-.08
-.11*
-.13*
Note. Subscales of Swedish Universities Scale of Personality (SPP).
*
p < .05;
**
p < .01;
***
p < .001. Pearson r correlations shown.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS6
Table S1.1 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 1
Internal Consistency Scores for Multi-item Individual Difference Measures in Study 1
Individual Difference Measure
Cronbach Alpha
Political Orientation (3 item)
.826
Belief in a Dangerous World (12 item)
.819
Flexible Thinking (10 items)
.548
Critical Thinking (9 items)
.401
Fantasy Prone (Creative Experiences Scale,
CEQ; 25 items)
.729
Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES; 28 items)
.712
Mindfulness (MAAS; 15 item)
.878
Absorption (Tellegen Absorption Scale, TAS;
34 items)
.920
Basic Empathy Scale (20 items)
.811
Cognitive Empathy (BES; 9 items)
.700
Affective Empathy (BES; 11 items)
.809
Personality Traits (SSP; 91 items):
Somatic Trait Anxiety (7 items)
.693
Psychic Trait Anxiety (7 items)
.744
Stress Susceptibility (7 items)
.658
Lack Of Assertiveness (7 items)
.698
Impulsiveness (7 items)
.682
Adventure Seeking (7 items)
.782
Detachment (7 items)
.618
Social Desirability (7 items)
.515
Embitterment (7 items)
.654
Trait Irritability (7 items)
.821
Mistrust (7 items)
.779
Verbal Trait Aggression (7 items)
.665
Physical Trait Aggression (7 items)
.828
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS7
Table S1.2 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 1
Question Wording Used in Study 1 (and Study 2).
Wording used in questionnaire
Source
(1) In this question, we are interested in whether sexual abuse experienced in
childhood may influence the person’s adult life. There are no correct or incorrect
answers. It is your personal opinion that is important.
Imagine a person with longstanding emotional problems and a need for
psychotherapy. How plausible do you think it is that this person is a victim of
childhood sexual abuse, even though the person is unable to remember the
abuse?
a
Rubin &
Berntsen
(2007)
Instructions: To what extent do you disagree or agree with the following
statements:
b
(2) Traumatic memories are often repressed (which means the person cannot
remember the traumatic event due to a defense against painful content). new
(3) Repressed memories can be retrieved in therapy accurately. new
(4) Memory can be unreliable. new
(5) Hypnosis can accurately retrieve memories that previously were not known
to the person. new
(6) Memory is constantly being reconstructed and changed every time we
remember something. new
(7) The memory of everything we've experienced is stored permanently in our
brains, even if we can't access all of it Lilienfeld et
al. (2010)c
(8) Some people have true "photographic memories." Lilienfeld et
al. (2010)
(9) With effort, we can remember events back to birth. Lilienfeld et
al. (2010)
Note. aQuestion (1) Likert scale: 1 = very implausible; 2 = implausible; 3 = plausible; 4 = very
plausible. bQuestions (2) through (9) Likert scale: 1 = strongly disagree; 2 = disagree; 3 =
slightly disagree; 4 = slightly agree; 5 = agree; 6 = strongly agree. cLilienfeld, Lynn, Ruscio, &
Beyerstein (2010).
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS8
Table S1.3 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 1
Correlations Among Questions Regarding Undergraduates’ Beliefs About How Memory Works
(N = 390).
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8)
(9)
(1) How plausible victim of CSA
even though unable to remember?a .39*** .24*** .09 .16** .14** .10* .14** .08
(2) Traumatic memories are often
repressed.b .40*** .01 .29*** .15** .28*** .17*** .08
(3) Repressed memories can be
retrieved in therapy accurately. -.16** .47*** .003 .32*** .31*** .19***
(4) Memory can be unreliable. -.11* .35*** -20*** -.14** -.22***
(5) Hypnosis can accurately retrieve
memories previously not known. .08 .27*** .25*** .22***
(6) Memory is reconstructed every
time we remember something. .10* -.04 -.03
(7) The memory of everything we've
experienced is stored permanently. .33*** .36***
(8) Some people have true
"photographic memories." .18
(9) With effort, we can remember
events back to birth.
Note. *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001. Pearson r correlations shown.
aQuestion (1) Likert-like scale: 1 = very implausible; 2 = implausible; 3 = plausible; 4 = very plausible.
bQuestions (2) through (9) Likert scale: 1 = strongly disagree; 2 = disagree; 3 = slightly disagree; 4 = slightly agree;
5 = agree; 6 = strongly agree.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS9
Table S1.4 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 1
Correlations between Individual Differences Measures and Participants’ Beliefs about How
Memory Works (N = 390)
(1)a
Recovered
CSA
Plausible
(2)b
Traumatic
memories
are often
repressed
(3)
Repressed
memories
can be
retrieved in
therapy
(4)
Memory
can be
unreliable
(5)
Hypnosis
accurately
retrieves
memories
(6)
Memory is
reconstructe
d
(7)
Memory of
everything
is stored
(8)
Photograph
ic
memories
(9)
Can
remember
back to
birth
Gender .04 .13* .11* .01 .10 .08 .11* <.01 .05
Age -.10 -.06 -.14** .14** -.03 .02 -.07 -.05 .02
Year in College -.02 -.01 -.13** .17*** -.02 .01 -.11* -.08 -.01
Psychology
related major
c .01 .04 -.04 .21*** -.03 .10 -.07 -.09 -.12*
SES of Family -.04 .02 <.01 -.01 -.04 -.03 .01 .06 -.04
Political
Orientation
d .05 -.07 -.04 .09 -.05 -.06 -.09 -.05 -.02
Belief in a Dang.
World
.05 .05 .09 -.22*** .05 -.08 .16** .04 .03
Note. *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001. Pearson r correlations shown.
aQuestion (1) Likert scale: 1 = very implausible; 2 = implausible; 3 = plausible; 4 = very plausible.
bQuestions (2) through (9) Likert scale: 1 = strongly disagree; 2 = disagree; 3 = slightly disagree; 4 = slightly agree;
5 = agree; 6 = strongly agree.
c
Psychology related majors coded 1, others coded 0.
d
Ranging from 1 = very liberal to 7 = very conservative.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS10
Table S1.5 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 1
Correlations Between Measures of Intelligence and Rationality and Participants’ Beliefs about
How Memory Works.
(1)a
Recovered
CSA
Plausible
(2)b
Traumatic
memories
are often
repressed
(3)
Repressed
memories
can be
retrieved in
therapy
(4)
Memory
can be
unreliable
(5)
Hypnosis
accurately
retrieves
memories
(6)
Memory is
reconstructe
d
(7)
Memory of
everything
is stored
(8)
Photograph
ic
memories
(9)
Can
remember
back to
birth
Intelligence/Aptitude Measures:
SAT Total -.01 .03 -.17** .08 -.09 <.01 -.07 -.13* -.08
College GPA -.08 -.05 -.06 .15** -.10 .01 -.15** -.11* -.10
Rationality Measures
Flexible Thinking .01 .05 -.08 .16** -.09 .14** -.07 .02 -.08
Critical Thinking <.01 -.09 -.15** .18*** -.19*** .09 -.17*** -.14** -.09
Note.*p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001. Pearson r correlations shown.
aQuestion (1) Likert scale: 1 = very implausible; 2 = implausible; 3 = plausible; 4 = very plausible.
bQuestions (2) through (9) Likert scale: 1 = strongly disagree; 2 = disagree; 3 = slightly disagree; 4 = slightly agree;
5 = agree; 6 = strongly agree.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS11
Table S1.6 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 1
Correlations between Personality Measures and Participants’ Beliefs about How Memory Works
(N = 390).
(1)
Recovered
CSA
Plausible
(2)
Traumatic
memories
are often
repressed
(3)
Repressed
memories
can be
retrieved in
therapy
(4)
Memory
can be
unreliable
(5)
Hypnosis
accurately
retrieves
memories
(6)
Memory is
reconstruct
ed
(7)Memor
y of
everything
is stored
(8)
Photograph
ic
memories
(9)
Can
remember
back to
birth
Fantasy Prone
(CEQ)
.06 .08 <.01 -.16** .05 -.02 .11* .11* .23***
Dissociation
(DES)
.08 .03 -.14** -.03 -.11* .01 -.05 -.04 .07
Mindfulness
(MAAS)
<.01 .04 .09 .02 .07 .02 .08 .01 -.05
Absorption
(TAS)
.05 .06 -.04 -.11* .06 .05 .11* .10* .15**
Cognitive
Empathy (BES)
.10 .16** .09 -.01 .09 -.01 .14** .06 .05
Affective
Empathy (BES)
.07 .14** .05 -.10* .07 -.03 .10 .07 .03
Personality Traits (SSP):
Somatic Trait
Anxiety
.04 .04 -.03 -.08 .04 -.04 .02 .02 .10
Psychic Trait
Anxiety
.07 .03 -.01 -.10* .03 -.06 .05 .04 .02
Stress
Susceptibility
.04 <.01 -.04 -.05 <.01 -.03 -.02 <.01 <.01
Lack Of
Assertiveness
-.01 <.01 -.01 <.01 .05 .05 -.01 .07 .03
Impulsiveness .06 <.01 -.04 -.13** <.01 .03 .07 .16** .08
Adventure
Seeking
.10 .09 .04 -.16** .07 .06 .11* .14* .13**
Detachment -.06 -.03 -.02 .02 -.01 -.04 <.01 -.03 .02
Social
Desirability
.05 .02 .04 -.03 .03 .11* .16** .17*** .09
Embitterment -.03 -.08 -.07 -.12* <.01 -.06 .03 .07 .06
Trait
Irritability
.12* .07 .02 -.08 .01 -.07 .01 -.01 .03
Mistrust .04 -.05 -.05 -.08 .01 -.05 .07 -.04 .10*
Verbal Trait
Aggression
.08 -.03 .01 -.06 <.01 -.12 -.02 <.01 .02
Physical Trait
Aggression
.10* .06 .07 -.10 .05 -.12* .04 .04 .08
Note. Pearson r correlations shown. CEQ = Creative Experiences Questionnaire; DES = Dissociative Experiences
Scale; MAAS = Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale; TAS = Tellegen Absorption Scale; SSP = Swedish
Universities Scale of Personality.
*
p < .05;
**
p < .01;
***
p < .001.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS12
Supplemental Method for Study 2
Psychologists in the sample were recruited via email request. Typically this involved an
initial email followed with three subsequent reminder emails for those who did not participate or
did not indicate they did not want to participate. Where possible a very brief phone call followed
the first email letting them know about the invitation email and study. In the case of SARMAC
and SSCP only one email was sent out to members inviting them to participate. The emails
included a link to the memory belief study so that participants could answer the questions at a
computer of their choice.
Experimental psychologists were researchers that had an experimental focus, usually in
social or cognitive psychology. These experimental psychologists were recruited by emailing
some from universities in every state in the continental US. Clinical psychology researchers were
similarly targeted and emailed using university websites from all over North America. Both
mainstream clinicians and alternative therapists that were recruited were listed online as offering
therapeutic or coaching services, and the contact information they gave was used to send open
email invitations.
All general public participants were recruited through Amazon's Mechanical Turk, an
online website that paid each individual 30 cents for their completion of the study. In addition,
all the non-student participants were told that participation would enter them into a raffle with
prizes consisting of a top prize of $300, and two runner-up prizes of $100. These prizes were
paid out after data collection ceased in June 2012 by picking winners at random from those that
had participated (random.org).
Undergraduate participants were recruited via Experimetrix and were given 1/2 hour of
credit for completing the memory belief questionnaire. Like other nonstudent participants, in
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS13
Study 2 they could complete the study at a computer of their choice using a link that was sent to
them.
Ethics. Permission to conduct this study was granted by the Internal Review Board at the
University of California, Irvine. To maintain anonymity of the privately held beliefs expressed
by participants, including potential colleagues within the field of psychology, participant names
were never linked to the memory belief dataset itself. Any identifying features, such as names
and email addresses, were redacted immediately after data collection was completed, and before
data analysis began.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS14
Supplemental Results for Study 2
Factor Analysis
The scree plot shows one factor dominated, so we show a one factor analysis below.
Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin Measure of Sampling Adequacy.
.934
Bartlett's Test of Sphericity
Approx. Chi-Square
12500
df
276
p
< .001
The main factor shown in the Factor Matrix table on the following page could be
summarized simply as belief about repressed memory and the memory reliability. Those scoring
low on the scale tend not to believe in the accuracy of repressed memory nor in the reliability of
memory. Those high on the Factor 1 composite tend to believe in the accuracy of both repressed
memory and the reliability of memory.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS15
Factor 1
In your opinion, how accurate are repressed memories?
.813
If a news channel reported a story of an individual undergoing therapy who reports
repressed memories, how likely would you believe this story?
.782
Repressed memories can be retrieved in therapy accurately.
.749
If a friend currently undergoing therapy reported repressed memories of sexual
abuse, and they had no such memory before therapy, how likely would you be in
supporting him/her in this belief?
.745
When someone has a memory of a trauma while in hypnosis, it objectively must
have occurred.
-.739
Hypnosis can accurately retrieve memories that previously were not known to the
person.
.712
How likely is it that the client in this [recovered memory] case was sexually
abused?
.702
Assist the client in retrieving memories of childhood sexual abuse.
.682
Assist the client in retrieving additional sexual abuse memories using techniques
such as hypnosis.
.682
At times, the media has reported that the recovery of repressed traumatic memories
can be unreliable and has led to the conviction of innocent individuals. Do you
believe these memories were really false?
-.659
At some point in treatment, tell the client that you suspect a history of sexual
abuse.
.645
Traumatic memories are often repressed.
.634
With effort, we can remember events back to birth.
.624
Hypnosis can be used to recover memories of actual events as far back as birth.
-.617
The memory of everything we've experienced is stored permanently in our brains,
even if we can't access all of it.
.585
Memory can be unreliable.
-.570
The inability to recall early childhood events could signify evidence of repressed
trauma.
-.529
It is possible to suggest false memories to someone who then incorporates them as
true memories.
.491
How plausible do you think it is that this person is a victim of childhood sexual
abuse, even though the person is unable to remember the abuse?
.490
Some people have true "photographic memories."
.462
Memory is constantly being reconstructed and changed every time we remember
something.
-.459
Encourage the client to seek evidence which supports a history of sexual abuse.
How has media coverage changed your belief about the repression of traumatic
memory?
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS16
Participant Group
N
M
SD
Experimental Psych
70
44.5
15.3
SARMAC
48
40.5
15.8
SSCP
33
44.2
12.8
Clin Psy Researchers
35
43.9
15.5
Clin Psy Practitioners
42
57.5
19.3
Psychoanalysts
62
55.9
17.8
NLP Therapists
45
87.8
17.5
IFS Therapists
56
72.0
16.4
Hypnotherapists
42
78.7
26.3
TFT Therapists
7
84.9
28.9
Scientologists
4
76.5
6.8
Primal Therapists
2
71.5
30.4
Undergraduates
388
76.7
15.7
US public
99
86.3
18.4
UK public
100
76.4
18.5
India public
103
87.8
14.4
Total
1136
71.5
22.4
of repressed memories. Note that participants who did not complete all the questions in the composite
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS17
Table S2.1 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 2
Mean Memory Beliefs (SD) of Various Participant Groups: (M, SD, and n Given for Comparisons).
Participant group
n
(1)a
Recovered
CSA
Plausible
(2)b
Traumatic
memories are
often
repressed
(3) Repressed
memories
can be
retrieved in
therapy
(4) Memory
can be
unreliable
(5) Hypnosis
accurately
retrieves
memories
(6) Memory
is
reconstructed
(7) Memory
of everything
is stored
(8)
Photographic
memories
(9)
Can
remember
back to birth
Psychology-related professionals
Researchers and science related:
Experimental Psychologists1
96
2.16 (.765)
2.68 (1.276)
2.43 (1.135)
5.78 (0.418)
2.21 (1.163)
5.48 (0.787)
2.37 (1.411)
3.35 (1.312)
1.30 (0.721)
Society Memory & Cogn. (SARMAC)
70
2.09 (.697)
2.31 (1.357)
2.11 (1.174)
5.81 (0.490)
1.90 (1.038)
5.53 (0.717)
2.30 (1.397)
2.90 (1.608)
1.29 (0.663)
Society Science Clinical Psych (SSCP)
62
2.15 (.721)
2.37 (1.191)
1.92 (0.980)
5.90 (0.298)
1.56 (0.842)
5.42 (0.821)
2.06 (1.158)
3.44 (1.350)
1.13 (0.338)
Clinical Psychologists:
Clinical Psychology Researchers (univ.)
62
2.16 (.783)
2.44 (1.223)
2.26 (1.144)
5.79 (0.449)
1.92 (0.980)
5.18 (0.984)
2.06 (1.240)
3.63 (1.258)
1.29 (0.663)
Clinical Psychology Practitioners (AACP)
58
2.55 (.680)
3.57 (1.403)
3.10 (1.209)
5.36 (0.641)
2.76 (1.288)
4.83 (0.861)
3.21 (1.598)
3.95 (1.480)
1.72 (1.136)
Psychoanalysts (AAPDP; CIP)
79
2.58 (.705)
3.99 (1.479)
3.21 (1.348)
5.42 (0.545)
2.53 (1.174)
5.02 (0.935)
2.78 (1.500)
4.01 (1.309)
1.48 (0.776)
Alternative psychotherapists/coaches
Neuro-linguistic Programming Therapists
59
3.02 (.435)
4.78 (1.018)
4.14 (1.025)
4.51 (1.089)
4.56 (0.952)
4.49 (1.010)
5.07 (.998)
5.19 (0.508)
4.24 (1.291)
Internal Family Systems Therapists-Certc
24
3.04 (.464)
4.96 (0.999)
4.38 (1.279)
4.88 (0.741)
3.96 (1.122)
4.54 (1.021)
4.00 (1.383)
4.42 (1.176)
3.83 (1.579)
Internal Family Systems Therapists-NCertd
43
2.77 (.611)
4.28 (1.241)
3.70 (1.372)
4.98 (1.012)
3.42 (1.118)
4.44 (1.119)
3.47 (1.533)
4.26 (1.071)
2.65 (1.446)
Hypnotherapists – (NBCCH)
50
2.94 (.586)
4.66 (1.154)
3.62 (1.550)
5.00 (1.125)
3.86 (1.641)
4.44 (1.296)
4.30 (1.344)
4.64 (1.102)
3.20 (1.702)
Thought Field Therapists
10
3.11 (.928)
5.00 (0.866)
4.56 (1.667)
5.11 (0.782)
4.33 (1.732)
3.67 (1.581)
5.22 (1.093)
5.11 (1.054)
3.56 (1.667)
Scientologists (non-Church: freezone)
4
2.75 (.500)
5.50 (0.577)
5.75 (0.500)
4.25 (2.217)
4.25 (0.957)
4.00 (1.414)
5.75 (.500)
5.25 (0.500)
5.75 (0.500)
Primal Therapists
2
3.00 (.000)
6.00 (0.000)
3.50 (2.121)
5.50 (0.707)
3.50 (0.707)
3.50 (0.707)
3.50 (.707)
4.00 (0.000)
5.00 (1.414)
Non-professionals
Undergraduates
406
2.80 (.563)
4.22 (1.090)
3.68 (1.006)
4.73 (1.080)
3.19 (1.167)
4.77 (0.968)
3.84 (1.329)
4.50 (1.186)
2.32 (1.158)
General Public:
United States
112
2.92 (.539)
4.42 (1.120)
4.08 (1.006)
4.30 (1.138)
3.77 (1.200)
4.18 (0.951)
4.20 (1.374)
4.92 (1.032)
2.76 (1.317)
United Kingdom
112
2.75 (.562)
4.31 (1.040)
3.75 (1.000)
4.94 (1.051)
3.73 (1.099)
4.59 (0.945)
3.64 (1.335)
4.46 (1.251)
2.37 (1.273)
India
110
2.65 (.772)
3.92 (1.076)
4.22 (0.923)
3.24 (1.248)
4.05 (0.937)
4.02 (1.211)
4.54 (1.089)
4.81 (1.000)
3.33 (1.362)
Note. Mean ratings given with standard deviations in parenthesis. aQuestion (1) Likert scale: 1 = very implausible; 2 = implausible; 3 = plausible; 4 = very plausible.
bQuestions (2) through (9) Likert scale: 1 = strongly disagree; 2 = disagree; 3 = slightly disagree; 4 = slightly agree; 5 = agree; 6 = strongly agree. cCert = therapists that have been
internally certified by The Center for Self Leadership (selfleadership.org) an Internal Family Systems organization. dNCert = listed as an Internal Family Systems therapist by the
Center for Self Leadership, but not listed as certified by their internal training program.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS18
Table S2.2 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 2
Percentage of Participants in Study 2 Agreeing to Some Degreea with Various Statements About Memory and Repression
Participant Group
Traumatic
memories are
often repressed.
Repressed
memories can be
retrieved in
therapy
accurately.
Memory can be
unreliable.
Hypnosis can
accurately retrieve
memories that
previously were
not known to the
person.
Memory is
constantly being
reconstructed and
changed every
time we remember
something.
Memory of
everything
experienced is
stored
permanently in
brains, even if
can't access all.
Some people have
true "photographic
memories."
With effort, we
can remember
events back to
birth.
Experimental Psych 27.0 24.2 99.0 20.0 96.0 24.0 49.0 2.0
SARMAC 25.7 17.1 98.6 12.9 98.6 22.9 34.3 1.4
SSCP 17.7 9.7 100.0 4.8 96.8 16.1 50.0 0.0
Clin Psy Researchers 19.4 16.1 98.4 7.9 92.1 14.3 60.3 1.6
Clin Psy Practitioners
60.3 43.1 100.0 36.2 98.3 44.8 72.4 8.6
Psychoanalysts 69.1 47.5 100.0 25.9 95.1 35.8 79.0 3.7
NLP Therapists 89.8 74.6 88.1 89.8 83.1 93.2 100.0 79.7
IFS Therapists 80.6 65.7 94.0 62.7 82.1 62.7 80.6 38.8
Hypnotherapists 82.0 54.0 94.0 66.0 84.0 78.0 88.0 46.0
TFT Therapists 100.0 77.8 100.0 66.7 55.6 88.9 88.9 55.6
Scientologists 100.0 100.0 75.0 75.0 75.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Primal Therapists 100.0 50.0 100.0 50.0 50.0 50.0 100.0 100.0
Undergraduates 77.6 64.5 88.0 43.5 91.6 63.1 83.0 17.2
US public 83.9 77.7 76.8 64.3 78.6 69.6 92.9 27.7
UK public 77.7 67.9 89.4 65.5 88.5 59.3 81.4 19.5
India public 71.6 82.6 41.3 78.0 78.0 84.4 89.9 54.1
Note. On all these questions, participants had a 6 point Likert scale fully anchored with the following 6 anchors: strongly disagree, disagree, slightly disagree, slightly agree,
agree, and strongly agree.
a
Agreeing to some degree means participants chose slightly agree, agree, or strongly agree to the statements.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS19
Table S2.3 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 2
Comparing 1996/7 beliefs to 2011/12 Beliefs: Questions Related to the Case Study from Gore-Felton et al. (2000)
Participant group
n
How likely client is it
that the client was
sexually abused?
1
How likely are you to:
Assist the client in
retrieving memories of
childhood sexual abuse.
How likely are you to:
Encourage the client to
seek evidence which
supports a history of
sexual abuse.
How likely to:
At some point in
treatment, tell the
client that you
suspect a history of
sexual abuse.
How likely are you to:
Assist the client in
retrieving additional
sexual abuse memories
using techniques
such as hypnosis.
Psychology-related professionals
1996 Clinical Psychology Practitionersa
1008
6.45 (2.04)
4.8 (2.9)
3.2 (2.8)
4.6 (3.2)
1.4 (2.2)
2011/2 Clinical Psychology Practitionersb
58
4.45 (2.11)
3.17 (2.59)
3.38 (2.76)
2.93 (2.37)
0.83 (1.55)
2011/2:
Clinical Psychology Researchers (univ.)
65
3.78 (2.37)
1.31 (1.99)
2.06 (2.15)
1.65 (0.86)
0.22 (0.86)
Psychoanalysts (AAPDP; CIP)
82
4.38 (2.58)
2.98 (2.72)
2.29 (2.38)
2.27 (2.52)
0.56 (1.47)
Researchers and science related:
Experimental Psychologists
104
3.03 (2.02)
1.91 (2.41)
3.14 (3.03)
1.35 (2.04)
0.77 (1.63)
Society Memory & Cogn. (SARMAC)
70
3.04 (1.96)
1.54 (2.30)
3.41 (3.36)
1.04 (1.88)
0.64 (1.71)
Society Science Clinical Psych (SSCP)
64
3.39 (2.01)
1.31 (1.89)
2.84 (2.76)
1.23 (1.73)
0.08 (0.27)
Alternative psychotherapists/coaches
Neuro-linguistic Programming Therapists
60
6.58 (2.34)
4.72 (3.52)
4.12 (3.24)
3.58 (3.29)
4.38 (3.80)
Internal Family Systems Therapists-Certc
24
7.46 (1.89)
4.25 (3.37)
2.29 (2.88)
1.79 (2.64)
1.33 (2.48)
Internal Fam. Systems Therapists-NCertd
44
6.00 (2.07)
3.41 (2.94)
2.32 (2.41)
2.68 (2.57)
1.36 (2.17)
Hypnotherapists – (NBCCH)
50
6.14 (2.52)
4.02 (3.47)
2.88 (3.13)
3.38 (3.29)
3.28 (3.45)
Thought Field Therapists
10
6.70 (2.91)
3.00 (2.26)
2.90 (3.51)
3.70 (6.68)
1.20 (1.48)
Scientologists (non-Church: freezone)
4
3.50 (2.38)
4.75 (4.99)
0.50 (1.00)
0.00 (0.00)
0.75 (1.50)
Primal Therapists
2
6.00 (4.24)
3.50 (4.95)
3.00 (4.24)
2.00 (2.83)
0.00 (0.00)
Non-professionals
Undergraduates
406
6.21 (2.38)
5.77 (2.59)
5.45 (2.75)
4.47 (2.79)
4.50 (2.88)
General Public:
United States
112
6.58 (2.27)
6.31 (2.49)
5.98 (2.78)
5.99 (2.64)
5.41 (3.07)
United Kingdom
112
5.92 (2.19)
5.44 (2.76)
4.75 (2.67)
4.18 (2.83)
4.42 (3.15)
India
110
6.88 (2.94)
5.01 (3.16)
4.53 (2.99)
4.60 (3.04)
4.89 (3.29)
Notes. These questions were in response to a case study that described in two paragraphs a woman with symptoms of depression and binge eating, who recently began to recall
memories about a very upsetting period of being sexually molested by her father at age 2; and that prior to several weeks ago, she has never been aware of these memories.
All five questions had a Likert scale from 0 to 10, where 0 = not likely at all; 5 = somewhat likely; 10 = extremely likely. aGore-Felton et al. (2000) data collected 1996/7;
clinical/counseling psychologists APA members. bOur data collected 2011-2012; clinical/counseling board-certified psychologist members of American Academy of Clinical
Psychology (AACP). cCert = therapists that have been internally certified by The Center for Self Leadership (selfleadership.org) an Internal Family Systems organization. dNCert
= listed as an Internal Family Systems therapist by the Center for Self Leadership, but not listed as certified by their internal training program.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS20
Table S2.4 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 2
Comparing 1995 beliefs to 2012 Beliefs in Undergraduates and by Other Groups: Questions from Golding et al. (1996)
Participant group
n
In your opinion, how
accurate are repressed
memories?a
M (SD)
(16) Some people feel therapists go through legitimate psychological methods to get individuals to
recall repressed memories while others feel therapists
implant "false" memories in their clients. How do
you feel?
(a) Therapists use legitimate
methods
(b) Therapists implant "false"
memories
Both (a) and (b)
Non-professionals
1995 Undergraduatesb
609
5.56 (1.77)
24 %
3 %
73 %
2011 Undergraduatesc
406
5.39 (1.88)
12.3 %
5.9 %
81.8 %
(2011/2 data below)
General Public:
United States
112
6.13 (2.06)
25.0 %
4.5 %
70.5 %
United Kingdom
112
5.20 (1.95)
21.4 %
7.1 %
71.4 %
India
110
6.53 (2.00)
36.4 %
10.0 %
53.6 %
Psychology-related professionals
Researchers and science related:
Experimental Psychologists1
58
2.97 (1.54)
6.2 %
19.6 %
74.2 %
Society Memory & Cogn. (SARMAC)
70
2.84 (1.51)
1.5 %
18.2 %
80.3 %
Society Science Clinical Psych (SSCP)
63
2.71 (1.49)
3.2 %
38.1 %
58.7 %
Clinical Psychologists:
Clinical Psychology Researchers (univ.)
64
2.91 (1.52)
1.6 %
17.7 %
80.6 %
Clinical Psychology Practitioners (AACP)
58
3.97 (1.74)
10.3 %
6.9 %
82.8 %
Psychoanalysts (AAPDP; CIP)
82
4.56 (2.04)
6.4 %
10.3 %
83.3 %
Alternative psychotherapists/coaches
Neuro-linguistic Programming Therapists
60
6.05 (1.99)
22.8 %
1.8 %
75.4 %
Internal Family Systems Therapists-Certd
24
6.00 (1.74)
26.3 %
0.0 %
73.7 %
Internal Fam. Systems Therapists-NCerte
43
5.35 (1.85)
10.5 %
0.0 %
89.5 %
Hypnotherapists – (NBCCH)
50
5.38 (2.02)
13.3 %
0.0 %
86.7 %
Thought Field Therapists
10
6.40 (2.63)
10.0 %
0.0 %
90.0 %
Scientologists (non-Church: free-zone)
4
7.00 (2.45)
0.0 %
0.0 %
100.0 %
Primal Therapists
2
4.50 (4.95)
50.0 %
0.0 %
50.0 %
Notes. Participants read that a repressed memory occurs when "something happens that is so shocking that the mind grabs hold of the memory and pushes it underground, into some
inaccessible corner of the unconscious. There it sleeps for years, or even decades, or even forever isolated from the rest of mental life. Then, one day, it may rise up and emerge into
consciousness."
aThis questions had a Likert scale anchored with 1 = never accurate; 10 = always accurate. bGolding (1996) collected 1995. cOur undergraduate data was collected fall 2011.
dCert = therapists that have been internally certified by The Center for Self Leadership (selfleadership.org) an Internal Family Systems organization. eNCert = listed as an Internal
Family Systems therapist by the Center for Self Leadership, but not listed as certified by their internal training program.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS21
Table S2.5 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 2
Comparing 1992 beliefs to 2011/12 Beliefs in Psychotherapists and Other Groups: Questions Related to Yapko (1994)
(17) When someone has a memory of a
trauma while in hypnosis, it objectively
must have occurred.
(18) Hypnosis can be used to recover
memories of actual events as far back as
birth.
(19) It is possible to suggest false
memories to someone who then
incorporates them as true memories.
Participant group
n
Agree
Strongly
Agree
Slightly
Disagree
Slightly
Disagree
Strongly
Agree
Strongly
Agree
Slightly
Disagree
Slightly
Disagree
Strongly
Agree
Strongly
Agree
Slightly
Disagree
Slightly
Disagree
Strongly
Psychology-related professionals
1992 Psychotherapistsa
831
5.1
27.1
40.3
27.5
19.3
38.1
25.6
17.1
37.3
45.5
11.6
5.7
2011/2 Clinical Psychology Practitionersb
58
1.7
10.3
41.4
46.6
1.7
6.9
27.6
63.8
67.2
29.3
1.7
1.7
2011/2:
Clinical Psychology Researchers (univ.)
61
0.0
4.9
18.0
77.0
1.6
1.6
4.9
91.8
88.5
9.8
1.6
0.0
Psychoanalysts (AAPDP; CIP)
81
1.2
9.9
24.7
64.2
1.2
1.2
8.6
88.9
80.2
16.0
0.0
3.7
Researchers and science related:
Experimental Psychologists
99
0.0
4.0
18.2
77.8
1.0
0.0
9.1
89.9
88.9
11.1
0.0
0.0
Society Memory & Cogn. (SARMAC)
70
0.0
1.4
17.1
81.4
0.0
5.7
7.1
87.1
92.9
7.1
0.0
0.0
Society Science Clinical Psych (SSCP)
64
0.0
0.0
12.9
87.1
0.0
0.0
6.5
93.5
95.2
4.8
0.0
0.0
Alternative psychotherapists/coaches
Neuro-linguistic Programming Therapists
59
13.6
39.0
30.5
16.9
30.5
52.5
11.9
5.1
47.5
45.8
5.1
1.7
Internal Family Systems Therapists-Certc
24
4.2
25.0
29.2
41.7
16.7
41.7
25.0
16.7
41.7
58.3
0.0
0.0
Internal Fam. Systems Therapists-NCertd
43
2.3
18.6
58.1
20.9
0.0
41.9
27.9
30.2
51.2
44.2
4.7
0.0
Hypnotherapists – (NBCCH)
50
12.0
24.0
34.0
30.0
24.0
28.0
22.0
26.0
64.0
32.0
0.0
4.0
Thought Field Therapists
10
22.2
33.3
11.1
33.3
44.4
11.1
11.1
33.3
44.4
22.2
0.0
33.3
Scientologists (non-Church: freezone)
4
0.0
75.0
25.0
0.0
50.0
50.0
0.0
0.0
100.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
Primal Therapists
2
0.0
50.0
50.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
100.0
0.0
100.0
0.0
0.0
0.0
Non-professionals
Undergraduates
406
2.2
41.7
42.0
14.1
2.2
20.0
37.0
40.7
56.8
35.3
6.9
1.0
General Public:
United States
112
7.1
52.7
26.8
13.4
4.5
27.7
42.9
25.0
54.5
38.4
4.5
2.7
United Kingdom
112
4.5
35.7
42.0
17.9
2.7
24.1
42.0
31.2
43.8
51.8
4.5
0.0
India
110
12.7
66.4
19.1
1.8
14.5
45.5
21.8
18.2
14.5
54.5
26.4
4.5
Note. aYapko (1994): Psychotherapists recruited in 1992 from psychotherapy conventions, including American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), the Family
Therapy Network, the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH), and the Milton H. Erickson Foundation. “No response” not used in calculating percentages. bOur data collected
2011-2012; clinical/counseling board-certified psychologist members of American Academy of Clinical Psychology (AACP). cCert = therapists that have been internally certified by
The Center for Self Leadership (selfleadership.org) an Internal Family Systems organization. dNCert = listed as an Internal Family Systems therapist by the Center for Self
Leadership, but not listed as certified by their internal training program.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS22
Table S2.6 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 2
Participants’ Beliefs Specifically About Repressed Memory: (Means and Percentages Given for Planned Comparisons)
If a news channel reported a story of an
individual undergoing therapy who reports
repre
ssed memories, how likely would you
believe this story?
a
If a friend currently undergoing therapy
reported repressed memories of sexual
abuse, and they had no such memory before
therapy, how likely would you be in
supporting him/her in this belief?
1
The inability to recall early childhood events
could signify evidence of repressed trauma.
%
Agree
%
Agree
%
Disagree
%
Disagree
Participant group
n
M
SD
n
M
SD
n
Strongly
Slightly
Slightly
Strongly
Psychology-related professionals
Researchers and science related:
Experimental Psychologists
116
1.86
2.07
116
2.35
2.12
99
0.0
19.2
16.2
64.6
Society Memory & Cog. (SARMAC)
78
1.69
2.15
78
1.93
1.95
70
0.0
7.1
20.0
72.9
Society Science Clin Psych (SSCP)
70
1.43
2.06
70
2.28
2.00
64
0.0
12.9
19.4
67.7
Clinical Psychologists:
Clin Psychology Researchers
71
1.68
2.02
71
2.45
2.30
61
1.6
24.6
21.3
52.5
Clin Psychology Practitioners
62
2.84
2.11
62
3.96
2.28
58
8.6
36.2
25.9
29.3
Psychoanalysts (AAPDP; CIP)
90
2.82
2.54
90
3.95
2.53
81
9.9
44.4
11.1
34.6
Alternative psychotherapists/coaches
NLP Therapists
66
5.18
2.56
66
6.33
2.90
59
18.6
61.0
16.9
3.4
IFS Therapists-Certb
26
5.91
2.27
26
7.00
2.56
24
33.3
50.0
16.7
0.0
IFS Therapists-NCertc
47
4.83
2.16
47
6.11
2.24
43
18.6
58.1
11.6
11.6
Hypnotherapists – (NBCCH)
53
4.65
3.22
53
6.02
2.79
50
24.0
42.0
20.0
14.0
Thought Field Therapists
11
4.57
2.64
11
5.71
3.09
10
44.4
55.6
0.0
0.0
Scientologists (freezone)
4
3.25
2.22
4
5.50
2.65
4
50.0
50.0
0.0
0.0
Primal Therapists
2
6.00
4.24
2
7.50
3.54
2
0.0
100.0
0.0
0.0
Non-professionals
Undergraduates
407
4.69
1.97
407
5.39
2.18
401
4.9
43.2
33.1
18.8
General Public:
United States
112
5.32
2.46
112
6.11
2.53
112
10.7
46.4
25.9
17.0
United Kingdom
113
4.58
2.33
113
5.57
2.34
112
5.4
37.5
38.4
18.8
India
109
5.54
2.41
109
5.73
2.36
110
5.5
51.4
33.9
9.2
Note. aLikert scale from 0 to 10, where 0 = not likely at all; 5 = somewhat likely; 10 = extremely likely. bCert = therapists that have been internally certified by The Center for Self
Leadership (selfleadership.org) an Internal Family Systems organization. cNCert = listed as an Internal Family Systems therapist by the Center for Self Leadership, but not
listed as certified by their internal training program.
DOI:10.1177/0956797613510718
Running head: MEMORY BELIEFS SUPP ONLINE MATERIALS DS23
Table S2.7 - Supplemental Online Material for Study 2
Did Your Beliefs about Repression of Memory Ever Change, and if so, When and How did Your Beliefs change?
(20) Have your
beliefs about the
repression of
traumatic
(21) If yes, indicate how your beliefs
changed:
(22) If yes,
when did
your beliefs
change?
(23) If yes, what sources
of information influenced that change in
opinion? (free responsea)
% (number)
Participant group
n
memory ever
changed?
% Yes (n Yes)
% Now I think
repressed
memories could be
false memories.
% Now I think
repressed
memories could be
true memories.
Mean year
(SD)
%
Research
%
Psychology
Classes
%
Clinical
Experience
%
Case
Study or
Legal Case
%
Own/ others
personal
experience
b
Psychology-related professionals
Researchers and science related:
Experimental Psychologists
99
56.6 (56)
94.6
5.4
1989 (12.1)
60.3 (35)
24.1 (14)
0.0 (0)
5.2 (3)
3.4 (2/58)
Society Memory & Cogn. (SARMAC)
68
51.5 (35)
96.4
3.6
1996 (10.7)
50.0 (17)
41.2 (14)
0.0 (0)
2.9 (1)
5.9 (2/34)
Society Science Clinical Psych (SSCP)
60
43.3 (26)
100.0
0.0
1996 (11.3)
44.0 (11)
40.0 (10)
0.0 (0)
12.0 (3)
0.0 (0/25)
Clinical Psychologists:
Clinical Psychology Researchers (univ.)
56
50.0 (28)
83.3
16.7
1997 (7.4)
10.7 (3)
35.7 (10)
0.0 (0)
3.6 (1)
14.3 (4/28)
Clinical Psychology Practitioners (AACP)
49
57.1 (28)
87.0
13.0
1987 (10.7)
69.2 (18)
3.8 (1)
23.1 (6)
3.2 (1)
7.7 (2/26)
Psychoanalysts (AAPDP; CIP)
76
46.1 (35)
85.0
15.0
1985 (11.4)
45.2 (14)
0.0 (0)
32.3(10)
3.2 (1)
12.9 (4/31)
Alternative psychotherapists/coaches
Neuro-linguistic Programming Therapists
49
57.1 (28)
60.9
39.1
1997 (12.1)
16.0 (4)
12.0 (3)
32.0 (8)
4.0 (1)
48.0 (12/25)
Internal Family Systems Therapists-Certc
23
52.2 (21)
50.0
50.0
1997 (9.4)
15.4 (2)
0.0 (0)
7.7 (1)
7.7 (1)
30.8 (4/13)
Internal Fam. Systems Therapists-NCertd
36
58.3 (12)
72.7
27.3
1998 (7.4)
40.0 (8)
10.0 (2)
35.0 (7)
0.0 (0)
10.0 (2/20)
Hypnotherapists – (NBCCH)
46
58.7 (27)
82.6
17.4
1993 (10.6)
20.0 (5)
0.0 (0)
40.0 (10)
8.0 (2)
16.0 (4/25)
Thought Field Therapists
7
57.1 (4)
100.0
0.0
1979 (5.6)
40.0 (2)
0.0 (0)
20.0 (1)
0.0 (0)
20.0 (1/5)
Scientologists (non-Church: freezone)
4
75.0 (3)
0.0
100.0
1966 (7.5)
0.0 (0)
0.0 (0)
66.7 (2)
0.0 (0)
0.0 (0/3)
Primal Therapists
2
50.0 (1)
0.0
100.0
1995 (0.0)
0.0 (0)
0.0 (0)
0.0 (0)
0.0 (0)
100.0 (2/2)
Non-professionals
Undergraduates
401
28.7 (115)
78.2
21.8
2008 (3.9)
4.5 (5)
73.0 (81)
0.0 (0)
1.8 (2)
10.8 (12/111)
General Public:
United States
105
21.4 (22)
60.9
39.1
1994 (10.9)
0.0 (0)
22.2 (4)
0.0 (0)
11.1 (2)
22.2 (4/18)
United Kingdom
105
14.3 (15)
75.0
25.0
2002 (6.8)
28.6 (4)
14.3 (2)
0.0 (0)
0.0 (0)
35.7 (5/14)
India