Recovered Memory Case Study

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Sexual Trauma, Repression, and Recovered Memory San Mateo, CA, November, 1990: George Franklin is convicted of first degree murder of Susan Nason and is sentenced to life imprisonment. She had disappeared in September of 1969 at the age of 8, and her body was recovered 3 months later within a few blocks of her home. Susan was a friend of his daughter, Eileen, who was the same age as her. Eileen reported she had recovered a memory of her father raping and murdering the girl, and though it was 20 years later, Eileen provided law enforcement with details from the crime scene. Her father was found guilty based upon her testimony, despite the lack of any physical evidence. During the trial, Eileen testified she was reminded of the murder after…show more content…
As the patient had anterograde amnesia preventing him from learning new information explicitly, this provided evidence for an implicit system. After all, he made no repetitive error during any single trial, which suggested against preservation of responses (Milner, 1968). Moreover, double-dissociation was achieved by comparing H.M.’s memory abilities to another patient called K.M., who had the anterior portions of both frontal lobes removed to treat post-trauma epilepsy (Milner, 1968). While K.M. made preservative errors during the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task and could successfully complete a facial recognition task with almost perfect accuracy after a delay of 90 seconds, H.M. demonstrated superior flexibility in rule-switching during the card sorting task and recognized faces with no greater accuracy than that provided by chance (Milner et al., 1968). Up until that time, memory research had focused almost entirely on the explicit memory tasks (Schacter, Chiu, & Ochsner, 1993), so this was a momentous advance in the fields of neuroscience and cognitive…show more content…
The theory he introduced holds that people have the ability to protect themselves from trauma by repressing the memory to the unconscious. Yet, the unconscious as now conceived of by cognitive psychologists would be analogous to implicit memory, or that involved in priming, procedural skills, associative learning, and habituation. Furthermore, Freud’s repression theory assumed repressed memories could be effectively recovered by certain techniques that weaken psychological defenses. Nevertheless, the case studies he presented wherein he successfully uncovered childhood sexual abuse occurred from infancy to age four when infantile amnesia is thought to be at play, and there is evidence that the majority of traumatic memories recovered during therapy are due to therapist suggestion. Lastly, he asserted that every psychogenic symptom of psychological disturbance may be traced back to psychic conflict and resolved by cathartic release of a specific repressed memory. In reality, though, verified survivors of trauma often have more difficulty forgetting their traumatic experiences than remembering them. After all, a primary symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is intrusive memories of the

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