A scientometric and descriptive review on the debate about repressed memories and traumatic forgetting

Fabiana Battista*, Ivan Mangiulli, Lawrence Patihis, Olivier Dodier, Antonietta Curci, Tiziana Lanciano, Henry Otgaar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal(Systematic) Review article peer-review


Recent work suggests that the debate surrounding repressed memory and traumatic forgetting continues today. To further investigate this debate, we performed preregistered scientometric analyses on publications on the debate about repressed memory to provide information about its bibliometric evolution. Furthermore, we reviewed these publications to highlight the different positions taken by scholars on this debate. We reviewed 434 publications extracted from Scopus and Web of Science from 1969 to 2022. Our scientometric analyses permitted us to visualize the development of the publications on repressed memories and identify the terminology used to label this phenomenon. We identified three waves of publications (i.e., 1994-2000; 2003-2009; 2012-2021) showing that there is a recent peak of scholarly attention into this topic. 40% of scholars supported the phenomenon of repressed memory while 29% did not. Moreover, although in the last wave of publications, 35% of articles included critical arguments against the existence of repressed memory, a sizable number of publications (21%) supported ideas in favour of repressed memory. Finally, we observed that the term dissociative amnesia is another expression used to refer to the phenomenon. Our results provide additional evidence that the debate on repressed memories (and dissociative amnesia) is far from being over.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102733
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023


  • Humans
  • Amnesia
  • Repression, Psychology


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