As recently as 2014, Elizabeth Loftus wrote that as well as being easily created, false memories could also last a long time. However, the latest research questions whether false memories are indeed as easy to induce as psychologists like Loftus would have us believe. Brewin and Andrews conducted a meta-analysis of the research literature on false memories and concluded that “susceptibility to false memories of childhood events appears more limited than has been suggested.”
Brewin and Andrews are cautious in their conclusions, suggesting that even though susceptibility to false memories seems lower than previously suggested and therefore false memories themselves less common. Nonetheless, this has huge implications for the repressed memories of abuse that were claimed in court to be false memories. It is just one more example of how psychological thought is always advancing.
This post was inspired by Dr Laura Swash.