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THE JOURNEY FROM CHILDHOOD MEMORY TO ADULT MEMORY Psychology 200 Breanna Michelle Lee 7/28/2011 LAWSON STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE Maxine Fuller

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Looking back on my life I understand that my childhood memory played a big part of formingmy character. It is amazing to me that such a short span of my life affected many phases of my adult lifegood and bad.I was raised in a family of fourteen people. I had 1 father and mother, (some children have more), three brothers, and eight sisters. Living in a large family can have its challenges, but for some reason we survived them all, which is amazing because we only had one bathroom. The memories of childhood experiences, whether a tear-jerking boo-boo or a funky dance that sent Mom and Dad into fits of laughter, have all but vanished by the time we reach adulthood. It turns out those memories are even more fleeting than previously believed, fading between the ages of 4 and 7, new research finds.Until now, based on studies of adults, scientists had thought that children under age 3 or 4 didn't have the cognitive or language skills to form memories. And so these memories weren't exactly lost, but were never even stored in our brains in the first place. [Read: Fetuses Have Memories]But Carole Peterson, a psychology professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, and her colleagues had found that young children have lots of memories they could talk about. "So it was very clear that the explanation that had been given for adults just had to be wrong, because children do have the cognitive, linguistic and memory skills to talk about things that had occurred in their past," Peterson said.Whatever you recall, it's unlikely you'll bring back memories before the ages of three or four because of a phenomenon called infantile amnesia, or the inability of adults to remember the earliest years of life. Recent research explores the range of time in which children's memories of early childhood disappear or become clearer with time.

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Anterograde amnesia is characterized by a profound inability to retain new information. Recent research suggests that at least some of this severe memory impairment may be the product of retroactive interference. What specifically interferes with memory in amnesic patients however remains unknown. Here we reveal a substantial non-specific retroactive interference effect in densely amnesic patients: Whereas 7 out of 10 amnesic patients were able to recall some prose material following an unfilled delay period, only 1 of them was able to recall any material after a delay period in which they were required to listen for piano notes. The data reveal that some amnesic patients have the capacity to retain new material for much longer than usual but that any new post-learning information profoundly interferes with such retention. This non-specific retroactive interference effect deviates from the item specific interference effect that is typically assessed in clinical practice, and which is frequently observed in patients with executive impairment. We hypothesize that these interference effects are qualitatively different, occurring during distinct memoryprocesses, namely retrieval (item-specific interference) and consolidation (nonspecific interference). Anterograde amnesia patients present with an inability to remember explicitly events and information experienced only moments before. Here we show that at least some of these patients benefit profoundly from the removal of all material in the 10 min following prose learning, whereas even a distracting task very different from the memoranda, tone detection, greatly exacerbates the amnesia. Over the last 50 years each of the main memory processes - encoding, consolidation, storage and retrieval - has been considered as a potential locus of impairment underlying anterograde amnesia (see Kopelman, 2002 for a review). However, none of the resulting hypotheses have been able to provide a sufficiently solid account of the impaired and spared functions that are observed in the majority of

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patients with anterograde amnesia. Pioneer work on the patient H.M. led Milner (1966) to propose that amnesic patients were wholly unable to transfer any new information from short term memory (STM) to long term memory (LTM). This general consolidation deficit theory was however soon dismissed on the grounds that it could not account for amnesic patients spared procedural long term memoryformation (Milner et al., 1968), their ability to identify previously presented fragmented pictures and words following long delays (Warrington and Weiskrantz, 1968) and their improved test recall performance when cues (e.g. the first letter of a word) were provided (Warrington and Weiskrantz, 1970). The latter findings led Warrington and Weiskrantz (1970) to put forward that amnesic patients could consolidate new memories but that they were unable to access these unless retrievalcues were provided which sufficiently differentiated the to-be-retrieved items fromcompeting stored items. Later work by themselves however showed that minimizationof competing responses did not improve retention in amnesic patients (Warrington &Weiskrantz, 1978).It has since become evident that the memory improvement observed in Warrington and Weiskrantz work on fragmented pictures and cued recall tests in fact reflected the patients intact implicit memory formation capacity (c.f. Graf et al., 1984) rather than the ameliorated retrieval of explicit memories. When asked to recall their earliest personal memories, most children and adults have virtually no recollection of their infancy or early childhood. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as childhood amnesia. The fate of our earliest memories has puzzledpsychologists for over 50 years, particularly in light of the importance of early experiencein human development. Empirical research has shown that infants can both learn and remember very early in development, making the ultimate fate of early memories even more mysterious. The theoretical explanation of childhood amnesia

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outlined here relies on age-related changes in encoding, retention, and retrieval that occur during infancy and early childhood. Data obtained using a host of different memory tasks support the conclusion that quantitative changes in these basic memory processes can account for the decline of childhood amnesia during the third or fourth year of life. The empirical study of memory development during the infancy period presents researchers with some significant challenges. First, the memory tasks that are commonly used with children and adults are generally inappropriate for use with infants. Even within the infancy period, tasks that are appropriate for one age group are not necessarily appropriate for another. For this reason, research on infant memory is often remarkably non-developmental, focusing on a single age group or a very limited age range. This practice has severely limited our ability to draw conclusions about memory development. Second, the preverbal nature of the human infant requires researchers to build nonverbal instructions into a given memory task. Furthermore, researchers must rely on the infants nonverbal behavior as the primary index of memory. Researchers who study memory in nonhuman participants encounter these same problems and, in fact, some researchers who are interested in memory development in human infants have borrowed techniques that were originally developed for use with monkeys or rats. In both nonhuman animals and in preverbal human infants, the nonverbal nature of the memory response makes it impossible to experimentally validate the conscious nature of participants memories (Rovee-Collier, Hayne, & Colombo, 2001). Because researchers have yet to overcome this obstacle, we must live with the ambiguity inherent in our current measures of infant memory processing.Third, not only are the tasks that can be used with infants limited by factors related to language, they are also limited by factors related to motor skill. The immature motor competence of the human infant, particularly during the first 612

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months of life, severely constrains the kinds of tasks that can be used to study memory. Tasks used to measure memory in older infants are typically longer and more motorically complicated than tasks used to measure memory in younger infants. Even some of the nonverbal reaching tasks that were originally developed for use with nonhuman primates (e.g., Bachevalier & Mishkin, 1984) are too motorically difficult for young human infants. Finally, the neonatal period is characterized by extremely rapid changesin behavioral state (Clifton & Nelson, 1976). Although older infants state regulation is more stable, changes in interest and motivation continue to fluctuate rapidly. As such, any memory task that is to be used with infants must be relatively quick to administer. When session duration increases, subject loss rate is typically high. Furthermore, tasks that require multiple sessions are likely to have extremely high attrition ratesgiven that they provide multiple opportunities for participant loss. Findings from at least three different laboratories have shown that long-term retention is unaffected by the opportunity to practice the target actions (albeit, briefly) prior to the test (Abravanel, 1991; Barr & Hayne, 1996; Meltzoff, 1995). Long-term retention is prolonged, however, by the provision of verbal cues (Herbert et al., 2000). Furthermore, the effect of verbal cues varies as a function of the length of the retention interval. In a study by Herbert et al. (2000), for example, an adult demonstrated a 3-step series of actions and 18-month-old infants were tested either immediately or after a 4-week delay. Half of the infants were tested in a traditional deferred imitation paradigm in which no verbal information was provided during the demonstration or at the time of the test. The other half of the infants were provided with a verbal description of the target actions andthe goal of the event during the demonstration and were provided with a verbal reminder of the goal of the event at the time of the test (e.g., can you show me how

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we use these things to make a rattle?). These verbal cues are identical to those that are typically provided in the elicited imitation paradigm. Despite equivalent levels of performance when infants were tested immediately after the demonstration, or after a 24-h delay, only the infants who were provided with verbal cues exhibited superior retention when tested after a 4-week delay (see Fig. 1). Apparently, the verbal information provided during the demonstration yielded a more durable representation, the verbal information provided at the time of the test served as an effective retrieval cue, or some combination of both. Irrespective of the mechanism(s) involved, the addition of verbal cues altered infants memory performance when they were tested after a long delay. Although it is uncertain whether this adage has been tested empirically, personal experience of the authors suggests that the passage of many years is indeed insufficient to destroy bike-riding ability. Recently, skills such as bike-riding have been termed implicit memory, and their retention has been contrasted with what is seen with explicit memory tasks, in which participants are aware that they are making a memory decision, as occurs when answering the question, Who taught you to ride a bike?. Implicit memory has been described as encompassing various tasks, including not only acquisition of motor skill, but also priming (as when something comes quickly and easily to mind because it has been encountered previously) and classical conditioning. (For a typical graphic depiction of these distinctions, see Squire & Zola, 1996). There has been considerable interest in typologies of this kind as supporting investigations of the architecture of human memory that are informed by combinations of evidence from behavior and neuroscience, and that encompass research with a variety of human and non-human populations.Developmentally, it has been claimed that implicit memory is present robustly from the start of life, and does not undergo the kind of age-related changes that are commonly seen in explicit memory (Reber, 1989). In fact, this theme was the dominant

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conclusion of the chapter by Alan Parkin (1998) covering implicit memory in the first edition of this volume. The claim has several attractive characteristics. First, explicit memory improves dramatically over the course of childhood (for a review see Kail, 1990), and many standard explicit tasks such as recall and recognition are simply too difficult to use with children younger than three years of age. Although there is increasing recognition that explicit memory is present in infancy (for a review, see Bauer, 2006), implicit memory measures still seem to offer a potentially more sensitive way to determine what information young children have encoded, while still employing measures that can also be used with adults. Second, implicit memory seems to offer a way of understanding a paradox in cognitive development, namely, the fact that early competence is often discerned using looking time measures while, in contrast, studies examining deliberate actions and explicit predictions often show protracted phases of immaturity (see Keen, 2003). That is, perhaps initial knowledge is implicit in nature, but considerable experience with the world is necessary to create explicitly accessible information that can be used to make judgments.There is actually considerable uncertainty, however, concerning whether implicit memory is as developmentally robust as investigators believed at first.. There are several reasons to rethink this position. First, it was based primarily on studies of perceptual priming, without much consideration of other types of implicit memory, or of conceptual priming (Roediger & Blaxton, 1989) Second, it became associated with other propositions that are not logically entailed by it, notably the idea that implicit memory is resistant to decay or interference (as in the bike riding example). Third, it was based on studies of children that began at quite an advanced age from the point of view of discussion of developmental origins of knowledge or invariance over the life spanrarely younger than 3 or 4 years of age. Infantile amnesia refers to the general inability of people to remember specific events from the early years of their lives. On the basis of both free recall studies and studies for

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memories of notable and datable early events (the birth of a sibling, hospitalization) psychologists have concluded that there are very few memories from before the age 3 years. The average age of the earliest memory reported is 31/2, with a small but consistent gender difference indicating that females reported earlier memories. If people are asked to recall episodes from the entire life span the number reported before age 8 falls off sharply in comparison to other periods. This indicates that it is not the age of the memories per se that accounts for their relative paucity, rather it is the life period that they occur within (the earliest years) that is sparsely represented in long term autobiographicalmemory. The term retroactive interference was coined in 1900 by Georg Mller, an experimental psychologist, and Alfons Pilzecker, a medical student and former doctoral student of Mllers (Ler, 2007). They definedretroactive interference as memory interference by any post-learning material (see Dewar et al. 2007 and Wixted, 2004).Today, however, the term is mainly used to refer to interference of previously learned material by more recently learned, highly similar material (c.f. McGeoch and McDonald, 1931; Mensink and Raajmakers, 1988; Anderson, 2003). Such item specific interference can also be produced by highly similar material that was learned prior to the to-be-retrieved stimuli, and is referred to as proactive interference. Various clinical tools exist to check for an increased susceptibility to such item specific retroactive or proactive interference (e.g. The Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test and the California Verbal Learning Test). A study by Mayes et al. (1994) provides further evidence against such an item specific retroactive interference hypothesis of anterograde amnesia. They asked amnesic patients to recall sets of 10 photos of faces following a 12 min delay interval. During the delay interval participants were either presented with further sets of photos of faces (i.e. item-specific interference) or were engaged in conversation and other activities (not involving faces) (i.e. non-item-specific interference). The patients performed significantly poorer than the

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controls following both delays. Moreover, the difference in retention between the two conditions was equivalent in the amnesic and control group, leading Mayes et al. (1994) to conclude that there was no evidence that their amnesic patients were more susceptible to the type of sustained retroactive interference (p.558) applied in their study. The word-length effect, which is the nding that immediate serial recall is better for short words than for long words (Baddeley, Thomson, & Buchanan, 1975), is one of the key phenomena in the development of short-term memory (STM) theories. Unfortunately, however, the specic mechanisms underlying this effect have not been satisfactorily determined despite a number of different explanations have been proposed over the last decades. The word-length effect was rst explained within the working memory model (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974). According to this model, verbal STM relies on the phonological loop, consisting of a phonological store where phonological traces are maintained and a control process of sub vocal rehearsal that reactivates traces and counteracts decay (Baddeley, 1986; Burgess & Hitch, 1999). The time that a word takes to be rehearsed is proportional to how long the word takes to be pronounced. Rehearsal, therefore, is faster for short words than for long words, and, consequently, rehearsal is more efcient in reactivating short words before some items are lost due to decay. This would be why lists of short words are better recalled than lists of long words. Preliminary evidence for this view emerged from the observation that the length effect could be obtained when short and long words were matched for the number of syllables and phonemes (Baddeley et al., 1975). Normally, long and short words differ in the number of syllables and phonemes, so this nding was crucial to support that notion that articulatory duration was actually the key length factor in the origin of the effect. The role of rehearsal was later supported by the nding that the effect disappeared when rehearsal was prevented by articulatory suppression, a procedure in which participants are asked to articulate an irrelevant word or phrase over and over during the memory task (Baddeley, Lewis,& Vallar, 1984). Both

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lines of evidence, however, have been challenged by subsequent studies. On the one hand, a number of experiments have repeatedly failed to nd length effects with stimuli matched for number of syllables and phonemes (Caplan, Rochon, & Waters, 1992; Lovatt, Avons, &Masterson, 2000; Neath, Bireta, & Surprenant, 2003; Service, 1998), leading to the idea that the initial results might be a consequence of some special features of the original stimulus set (however, see Baddeley, 2007). On the other hand, some studies have shown that, under specic situations, the length effect can be found despite rehearsal prevention, for example, when lists of non-words instead of words are presented under articulatory suppression (Romani,McAlpine, Olson, Tsouknida, & Martin, 2005) or when rehearsal is prevented by temporal restrictions instead of suppression (Campoy,2008; Coltheart & Langdon, 1998; Coltheart, Mondy, Dux, &Stephenson, 2004) A more viable complexity-based explanation has been proposed by Hulme and collaborators (Hulme et al., 2004; Hulme et al., 2006).According to this explanation, the recall of an item depends on the relative distinctiveness of its memory trace in relation to the other traces in the retrieval set. As far as the word-length effect is concerned, distinctiveness is a consequence of phonological complexity, with more complex items resulting in lower levels of distinctiveness among traces. This account has the advantage of including the word length effect in a more general framework; thus, results in a range of situations are explained by a single factor (distinctiveness). However, the reasons why more complex items are less distinctive still remain to be clearly established. Regarding this question, Hulme et al. (2004, p. 103) suggested that it is more difcult to maintain distinctive traces of long (more complex) words because they comprise more phonological information, and there is a limitation regarding how much phonological information can be maintained at the same time. Unfortunately, the precise nature of this limitation has not been determined. We first review what the support was for Parkins (1998) claim that procedural memory appears age invariant (p. 124). Most of the evidence for the invariance claim came from studies

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in which implicit memory was tested using perceptual priming tasks. These findings of equivalent priming effects across childhood have largely been supported subsequently, but there have also been studies showing developmental change in conceptual priming tasks that have received much recent attention. We argue, however, that this work entangles issues of priming with issues of conceptual growth and additions to semantic memory, so that the data do not actually challenge the invariance claim in a fundamental way. We then conclude the section on priming with a discussion of what is known about the interplay of implicit with explicit memory, where there does appear to be considerable, and rather late, developmental change. In the second major section, we review findings regarding another kind of implicit memory, different from priming, not covered in the first edition of the book, and for which there is clear evidence that memory does change developmentally, namely, sequence learning. We close the chapter with a brief review of some developments in neuroscience, implicit memory in clinical populations, and suggestions for future research. Infantile amnesia refers to the general inability of people to remember specific events from the early years of their lives. On the basis of both free recall studies (What is your earliest memory?) and studies for memories of notable and datable early events (the birth of a sibling, hospitalization) psychologists have concluded that there are very few memories from before the age 3 years. The average age of the earliest memory reported is 31/2, with a small but consistent gender difference indicating that females reported earlier memories. If people are asked to recall episodes from the entire life span the number reported before age 8 falls off sharply in comparison to other periods. This indicates that it is not the age of the memories per se that accounts for their relative paucity, rather it is the life period that they occur within (the earliest years) that is sparsely represented in long term autobiographical memory. Sigmund Freud was one of the first psychologists to identify the phenomenon of infantile amnesia: What I have in mind is the peculiar amnesia which, in the case of most people, though

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by no means all, hides the earliest beginnings of their childhood up to their sixth or eight year." His notion was that early childhood memories, particularly sexual ones, were too frightening and distasteful to the child to be preserved as such. Instead these emotional early memories required filtering from conscious awareness, and so took the form of more innocuous and seemingly inconsequential "screen memories". A major difficulty that arises in considering Freud's account as a complete analysis of the phenomenon is that not all reported early memories are emotionally neutral or concerned with trivialities. Memories of troubling experiences from early childhood appear to be no less common than negative memories from adulthood. Freud's model may be restricted to certain client populations. A number of recent studies have demonstrated that memory is more sophisticated in infancy than previously thought. DeCasper and colleagues demonstrated that newborn infants recognized auditory stimuli presented in the last trimester of pregnancy. Meltzoff and his colleagues used the deferred imitation paradigm to demonstrate sophisticated memory abilities in children as young as 9 months. Children of 9, 14 and 24 months watched an adult move a toy in a specific, unique manner for 20 seconds. 24 hours later the toy was re-presented and all 3 age groups responded by repeating the adult's action. It is not appropriate to label this ability simply motor or procedural for two reasons: the infants did not experience the extended period of practice that is characteristic of learning motor skills, and because the exposure was so much briefer than any habit based memory would allow. Meltzoff demonstrated that even young infants are capable of storing abstract representations of action sequences in long term memory, not simply learned motor responses. Rovee Collier and colleagues used the mobile conjugate reinforcement paradigm to demonstrate memory in infants as young as 3 months. The infant's ankle was connected via a ribbon to an overhead mobile with the goal of having the infant learn the contingency between his or her kicking and movement in the mobile. In some of the experiments, an additional reactivation treatment is administered prior to tests of retention. Here,

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following an interval in which some forgetting has occurred, infants get a simple reminder of the set-up (e.g., the mobile, the room, the mobile moving) and are then tested at some later point (at least 24 hours after the reminder). Older infants (6 month olds) require more specific cues for retrieval than younger infants (3 month olds). Once reactivated a memory trace can be retained for at least as long as when it was originally encoded. If the infant's environment provides frequent opportunities for reactivation then theoretically "an individual's early experiences could be remembered over a lifetime". As a consequence of these studies Rovee-Collier et al stressed the importance of reactivation. As Howe & Courage (1993) express it: Contrary to traditional views of forgetting in which traces are either present but inaccessible (retrieval failure) or simply absent from memory (storage failure in extremis), the memory modifications brought about by reactivation emphasize the dynamic properties of memory. This is consistent with the view of adult memory drawn by Scachter, particularly his point that "memory is an emergent property of the cue and the engram" (p. 71). In other words, remembering changes what is "stored". Fivush, Nelson and colleagues have documented children as young as 2 years old can recall personally experiences that occured up to 6 months earlier. For example, Fivush's interviewed her daughter, Rachel, when she was 2 and found that she could remember many things that she had done months before. But by the time she was 8, all Rachel could remember from her first couple of years was a trip to Disneyland (reported in Goleman, 1993). This finding illustrates that the mechanisms for the laying down of long term memories do exist in children as young as 2, so the seeming paradox is why are these memories not retained into adulthood? Between 3 and 4 years of age there is a dramatic watershed in the child's ability to take another's perspective. 3 year olds find it difficult to attribute mental states to others that differ from their own present state of mind. The critical experimental paradigm used to demonstrate this phenomenon is the false belief task. If a child is shown a box of candy (the British Smarties)

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which contains pencils and is asked what they think it contains they naturally reply "Smarties". They are then shown that they were tricked and its true contents are revealed and asked what they think their friend who is waiting to play the game will think. If the child is less than 4 he or she will usually respond that their friend will think that the box contains pencils. They are unable to attribute a false belief that differs from their own knowledge to another. The ability to create another person's perspective and to explain the motivations of others is a key aspect of storytelling, so this account dovetails well with Pillemer's "socially accessible memory system" hypothesis. In closing Nothing is more powerful than the memories created by a child's experiences. The child's memories fashion the adult's life. Every day of adult life is touched by the memories of childhood experiences. Our greatest adult fears were created by childhood memories. Our greatest adult anxieties were produced by childhood memories. Our most negative adult views of ourselves are the product of childhood memories. Our most important adult goals have their roots in childhood memories. Our most powerful adult drives have their roots in childhood memories. Our adult attitudes, adult perspectives, adult expectations, and adult view of life are all powerfully influenced by our childhood experiences and memories. Help me conduct an experiment. I want each adult to think about your life during the period from four years of age to twelve years of age. All I want you to do is think. First, I want you to remember a bad childhood experience. This is something that you don't allow yourself to remember very often. It is one of those memories you don't want to think about. Second, I want you to remember one of your best childhood experiences. This memory is a real joy to think about. It makes you feel good to think about it. Third, I want you to remember one of the funniest childhood experiences you had. This is a memory you like to share because it is funny to tell. Now stop remembering and think with me. Did you struggle to pull up a memory? Could you remember the when, the place, the situation, the who, and the circumstances? Let me tell you the incredible thing: the older you

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become, the more vivid those memories become. There is general agreement among memory researchers that memories of events which happened before the age of 2 are never remembered into adulthood and cannot be recovered; memories before the age of 3 are rare and not particularly reliable. Claims by Ross et al (11) that 27% of their MPD patients recall abuse that occurred before 3 years of age are probably based on false memories. A claim by Rosanne (12) of abuse when she was 6 months old is certainly a false memory. Claims by some adults that they can remember being a just-fertilized ovum stuck in their mother's fallopian tube are totally devoid of credibility. Some survivor's memories of childhood sexual abuse have always been present from the moment when they occurred until the present time. Unfortunately, with the publicity given to false memories, these survivors are sometimes ignored or belittled. Some memories are simply forgotten. This includes almost all early experiences. It is quite possible that a child could have a mild molestation experience and permanently forget about it, just as children forget most painful bicycle accidents, falling down stairs, etc. Some therapists believe in the concept of repressed memories. i. e. that memories of hundreds of incidents of serious sexual abuse and ritual abuse can be actively repressed so that the events cannot be recollected in adulthood. They believe that through intensive techniques (hypnotism, "truth serum" sessions, guided imagery, dream analysis, etc) such memories can be recovered. Other therapists believe that a single instance of serious abuse after about age 4 or 5 is very rarely forgotten, and that repeated abuse is perhaps never forgotten. Two researchers from Harvard University recently completed a literature search on the topic of repressed memories of childhood incest.(1) They postulate instances of sexual child abuse where: the abuse has been corroborated independently of the survivor's memory the abuse was sufficiently traumatic that the child would have been expected to remember it if it were not for the repressionthe child actually repressed the memory (and didn't simply forget it) the victim in her adult years was unaware of the abuse; she was not lying about not having remembered it Williams studied 129

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adults who had been treated as a child aged 10 months to 12 years in a large city hospital. The interviews were conducted about 17 years later when all had reached adulthood. 16 women (12%) said that they had no memories of childhood sexual abuse; 38% said they did not recall the incident that brought them to the hospital. Unfortunately, the study was deeply flawed: no effort was made to document whether the abuse had actually happened. The child might have simply been brought to the hospital to rule out the possibility of sexual abuse. Or sexual abuse might have been suspected, but did not actually occur. Some of the children brought to the hospital were under the age of 3 when memories are not retained into adulthood; others might have been 3 or 4, at an age when memories are unreliable.they did not interview the adults further to determine whether they:had amnesia orthey remembered the abuse but did not choose to reveal it to the interviewer.Fortunately, The Femina study (3) took this exploration one logical step further. They interviewed 69 people who had reported abuse 9 years earlier when jailed. Of these, 26 (38%)did not mention the abuse at the time of the study. This datum matches the Williams study. However, the interviewers then tried to find out why the victims did not report the abuse. The answers were unrelated to repressed memories. Common responses were:embarrassmenta desire to protect parents anda need to try to forget the abuse.It is probable that incest and sexual abuse survivors in the Williams study had similar reasons, and that few or none had repressed memories. It is tragic that the 12% of the women who didn't remember sexual abuse during childhood were not separately examined in the Williams study. If those who were less than 3 and those who experienced less serious abuse were removed, one might be able to conclude that essentially all children remember into adulthood any serious sexual abuse which occurred after the age of 4.The Williams' study uncovered two additional factors: Survivors were more likely to recall sexual abuse with high amounts of force than with low amounts. Survivors were more slightly more likely to recall frequent abuse than infrequent abuse during childhood. However, the difference was not statistically significantly. Both of these indicators are

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incompatible with the theory of memory repression being promoted by supporters of recovered memories. It is very difficult to understand why the Williams study has not been redesigned to eliminate the serious flaws, and repeated. It would appear to be the best method of determining whether memories of repeated childhood sexual abuse actually can be repressed.

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