U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

False Memories and True Memories of Childhood Trauma: Balancing the Risks

NCJ Number
254263
Date Published
2019
Length
3 pages
Author(s)
Gail S. Goodman; Lauren Gonzalves; Samara Wolpe
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Annotation
This article examines the predictors of the accuracy of adults' long term memory for maltreatment and events related to the maltreatment experienced in childhood.
Abstract
First, the authors discuss memory for negative or threatening information and how child maltreatment may affect memory. Second, the article highlights methodological challenges inherent in this scientific inquiry. Third, it describes the findings from the authors' own longitudinal research on the accuracy of adults' memory for child abuse and for subsequent involvement in the legal system. The article concludes that, overall, the greater the traumatic impact experienced, the more accurate the later memory, although factors related to development, individual differences, and interviews moderate the effects of childhood trauma on the accuracy of adults' memory. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Created: July 20, 2021