Do your eyes protect your memory? From memory myths to the false memory potential of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMixed; collaboration

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Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a popular and effective psychological intervention to treat patients who have experienced a traumatic experience, e.g., sexual abuse. The popularity of EMDR was also visible in Dutch lawsuits. However, sometimes it was found that the EMDR therapist was looking for repressed memories (memories of an alleged traumatic experience that were not previously accessible) or that new memories developed. To date, no scientific evidence has been found for repressed memories and it is possible that the emergence of new memories indicates pseudomemories, i.e., memories of details and/or events that an individual has not experienced.
The most important goal of this thesis was to investigate the legal psychological context of EMDR by (1) examining the knowledge of EMDR therapists about the functioning of memory and (2) examining the susceptibility of pseudomemories. This is important because EMDR therapists work with autobiographical memories and could contaminate these memories. Victims could then make false accusations based on a contaminated memory.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • KU Leuven
  • Otgaar, Henry, Supervisor
  • Merckelbach, Harald, Supervisor
  • Roelofs, Jeffrey, Co-Supervisor
Award date27 May 2021
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789463615082
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • EMDR
  • pseudomemories
  • memory
  • legal psychology

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