Can cognitive neuroscience illuminate the nature of traumatic childhood memories?

Daniel L. Schacter, Wilma Koutstaal, Kenneth A. Norman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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