Perspectives on Memory for Trauma and Cognitive Processes Associated with Dissociative Tendencies
This chapter addresses general issues about disrupted memory and "knowledge isolation" for trauma, as well as introduce specific aspects of "betrayal trauma theory" that inform psychologists' understanding of memory impairment. It examines memory for trauma and the cognitive processes associated with dissociative tendencies. Cognitive science approaches can inform research in traumatic stress studies by articulating separate scientific issues that may be relevant to understanding alterations in memory and awareness for trauma. According to betrayal trauma theory, a potent motivation for knowledge isolation in the face of trauma is to preserve apparently necessary human relationships in which betrayal occurs. Leading trauma researchers and cognitive psychologists are increasingly taking on the very difficult and important task of investigating memory for trauma using research methodologies from cognitive science. Betrayal trauma theory posits that knowledge isolation serves a survival function in necessary human relationships in which betrayal occurs.