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Cognitive Processes, Trauma, and Dissociation-Misconceptions and Misrepresentations: Reply to Bremner (2010)

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Abstract

In a recent review (Giesbrecht, Lynn, Lilienfeld, & Merckelbach, 2008), we critically evaluated the research literature: on cognitive processes in dissociation. In a comment, Bremner (2010) has voiced reservations about our contention that evidence for the causal role of trauma in dissociation is limited. In this reply, we argue that Bremner's arguments are unconvincing and that a closer examination of the dissociation literature only strengthens the basis for our conclusions. Specifically, we show that dissociation exhibits a robust association with fantasy proneness and that Bremner's criticisms regarding our operationalization of dissociation are unfounded. Moreover, we demonstrate that heightened levels of fantasy proneness, suggestibility, and cognitive failures are related to the propensity to develop pseudomemories, which in turn may account for why dissociation is related to self-reported, but not objective, trauma. We conclude that there is little evidence for the gross cognitive deficits (e.g., interidentity amnesia, memory fragmentation) that many scholars have claimed accompany dissociative symptoms.

    Research areas

  • AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMORY, CHILDHOOD SEXUAL-ABUSE, COLLEGE-STUDENTS, DEPERSONALIZATION DISORDER, EXPERIENCES, FALSE MEMORIES, FANTASY-PRONENESS, INTER-IDENTITY AMNESIA, INTERROGATIVE SUGGESTIBILITY, POSTTRAUMATIC-STRESS-DISORDER, cognition, dissociation, fantasy proneness, memory, trauma
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-11
Number of pages5
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Volume136
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010