Planting false memories for childhood sexual abuse only happens to emotionally disturbed people… not me or my friends
Article first published online: 22 MAY 2008
Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Applied Cognitive Psychology
Volume 23, Issue 2, pages 162–169, February 2009
How to Cite
Pezdek, K. and Blandon-Gitlin, I. (2009), Planting false memories for childhood sexual abuse only happens to emotionally disturbed people… not me or my friends. Appl. Cognit. Psychol., 23: 162–169. doi: 10.1002/acp.1466
- Issue published online: 12 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 22 MAY 2008
Pezdek et al. (2006) reported that although imagining a plausible event increased people's belief in the event, imagining an implausible event did not. In response, Rubin and Berntsen (2007) conducted a survey and reported that only 17.8% considered it implausible that someone ‘with longstanding emotional problems and a need for psychotherapy’ could be a victim of childhood sexual abuse and forget the abuse. We replicated but qualified their findings; perceptions of the plausibility of this event for (a) respondents themselves and (b) other people in their cohort were substantially lower than the perceived general plausibility reported by Rubin and Berntsen. These findings limit the generalizability of Rubin and Berntsen's results to perceptions of personal plausibility and cohort plausibility, even for individuals indicating that they are likely to seek psychotherapy. Consequently, the risk of inducing false memories in psychotherapy may not be a ‘substantial danger’ as Rubin and Berntsen suggest. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.