A Cognitive Analysis of the Role of Suggestibility in Explaining Memories for Abuse
This chapter provides the phenomenon of delayed recall for traumatic memories is considered, and the recovered memory interpretation and the false memory interpretation for this phenomenon are articulated. Based on the cognitive analysis of the recovered memory/ false memory debate, it is concluded that suggestibility does not appear to be a sufficiently strong cognitive construct to explain the delayed recall phenomenon. The false memory interpretation assumes a very powerful construct of suggestibility. In the typical suggestibility paradigm, an item that was observed is suggested to be a different and related item. The suggestibility effect occurred only in the changed memory condition; the difference between the experimental changed condition and the corresponding control condition was significant. According to the recovered memory interpretation, traumatic memories may occur during therapy or after exposure to self-help books on sexual abuse, because something in this material serves as an effective retrieval cue to trigger a previously inaccessible memory.