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Oversimplifications and Misrepresentations in the Repressed Memory Debate: A Reply to Ross

Otgaar, H., Dodier, O., Garry, M. , Howe, M. L. ORCID: 0000-0002-5747-5571, Loftus, E. & Lynn, S. (2022). Oversimplifications and Misrepresentations in the Repressed Memory Debate: A Reply to Ross. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 32(1), pp. 116-126. doi: 10.1080/10538712.2022.2133043


Ross (in press) argued that false memory researchers misunderstand the concepts of repression and dissociation, as well as the writings of Freud. In this commentary, we show that Ross is wrong. He oversimplifies and misrepresents the literature on repressed and false memory. We rebut Ross by showing the fallacies underlying his arguments. For example, we adduce evidence showing that the notions of dissociation or repression are unnecessary to explain how people may forget and then remember childhood sexual abuse, stressing that abuse survivors may reinterpret childhood events later in life. Also, Ross overlooks previous critiques concerning dissociation. Finally, we will demonstrate that Ross misrepresents work by Freud and Loftus in the area of repressed and false memory. His article confuses, not clarifies, an already heated debate on the existence of repressed memory.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Child Sexual Abuse on 13 Oct 2022, available at:
Publisher Keywords: Repressed Memory, False Memory, Repression, Dissociation
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Otgaar-Dodier-Garry-Howe et al JCSA Commentary In Press.pdf]
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