Recent findings from cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology may help explain why recovered memories of trauma are sometimes illusory. In particular, the notion of defective source monitoring has been used to explain a wide range of recently established memory distortions and illusions. Conversely, the results of a number of studies may potentially be relevant to forgetting and recovery of accurate memories, including studies demonstrating reduced hippocampal volume in survivors of sexual abuse, and recovery from functional and organic retrograde amnesia. Other recent findings of interest include the possibility that state-dependent memory could be induced by stress-related hormones, new pharmacological models of dissociative states, and evidence for 'repression' in patients with right parietal brain damage.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
WC thank Eric Kandel and Larry Squire for helpful comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript. Preparation of this article was supported by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke grant PO1 NS27950 and National Institute on Aging grant AG08441-06.