Skirting the issue: What does believing in repression mean?

Henry Otgaar*, Jianqin Wang, Olivier Dodier, Mark L. Howe, Scott O Lilienfeld, Elizabeth F Loftus, Steven Jay Lynn, Harald Merckelbach, Lawrence Patihis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review


We show that, in contrast to Brewin, Li, Ntarantana, Unsowrth, and McNeilis (2019), large proportions of laypersons believe in the scientifically controversial phenomenon of unconscious repressed memories. We provide new survey data showing that when participants are asked specific questions about what they mean when they report that traumatic memories can be repressed, most provide answers strongly consistent with unconscious repression. Our findings continue to show that researchers, legal professionals, and clinicians should be wary of invoking unconscious repression in their work. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2005-2006
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • unconscious repression
  • repressed memory
  • trauma
  • memory

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