Memory Warp: How the Myth of Repressed Memory Arose and Refuses to Die

Memory Warp: How the Myth of Repressed Memory Arose and Refuses to Die

by Mark Pendergrast


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In the 1990s, a faddish pseudoscience, repressed memory theory, destroyed millions of American families by creating false memories of childhood sexual abuse. At the time, Mark Pendergrast published his widely acclaimed book Victims of Memory, exposing the false nature of the science and counseling techniques that were alienating teenagers and grown children from their families. In Memory Warp, Pendergrast revisits that subject, updating his research and describing where it stands now, in 2017.

All notable scientific researchers in the field of memory now agree that repressed-memory theory is misguided and harmful--that the "memories" produced are false, and that those accused--mostly parents and other family members and caregivers--have suffered greatly from false allegations of horrible crimes against their own children. But does that mean that the scourge is now behind us?

Unfortunately, no. The disproven theories of repressed memory continue to resurface throughout Amercan cultural life and, although usually more subtly, in the work of therapists. In this new book, Pendergrast provides a lively social history of our recent past, documenting how this incredible juggernaut of pseudoscience, which caused so much harm, came to be. But more importantly, the book also shows how these misguided theories continue to fester. And how, if we fail to learn from the lurid history of this movement, we may face another outbreak.

Many authoritative books have have appeared on this subject over the years, including those of memory researchers who have confirmed Pendergrast's conclusions. But Memory Warp is the first to describe the threat that continues to exist today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780942679410
Publisher: Upper Access, Inc.
Publication date: 10/15/2017
Pages: 444
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Independent scholar Mark Pendergrast is the author ofmany critically acclaimed books of nonfiction, including Victims of Memory, City on the Verge, and Uncommon Grounds.

His new book, Memory Warp, revisits the subject of repressed memories, a faddish pseudo-scientific form of therapy that ran rampant in the mid 1990s, destroying literally millions of families by creating false memories of childhood sexual abuse. Pendergrast's breakthrough book on the subject at the time, Victims of Memory, helped to expose the misguided nature of repressed-memory theories, and all major researchers on the nature of memory have agreed with his conclusions.

Memory Warp updates the issues covered by the earlier book, but it is not a new edition, as it thoroughly covers developments since that time. While it is partly fascinating social history of our recent past, documenting how this incredible juggernaut of pseudoscience came to be, it also shows how these misguided theories continue to fester today. Pendergrast warns that we may face another major outbreak if we do not learn from the past.

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Memory Warp: How the Myth of Repressed Memory Arose and Refuses to Die 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
DABARKER More than 1 year ago
D. A. Barker (author of “Killing for Christmas,” “What Am I?” &, in composition; “SUZANNE.”) “Memory Warp” by Mark Pendergrast: (Upper Access Books :) ISBN: 05461-802-482-2988. “Repressed memory syndrome” – the subject of “Memory Warp” – might be described as a can of festering worms. But one that had to be opened and its contents put on show. Mr. Pendergrast has achieved this with aplomb. The theory of “repressed memory syndrome:” the belief that memories of trauma suffered in childhood, generally sexual abuse inflicted by a close family member or person in authority, can be repressed, buried and then in adulthood, under therapy, recalled, stems from Freud. It is unproven; it is unsound and it is generally regarded by latter day researches as bunk. But in the 1980’s and 1990’s the notion gained popularity and spread like a plague infecting the U.S.A, Canada, the U.K and large swathes of mainland Europe. Disturbingly it still has adherents today. Countless thousands have suffered its effects. Whole families and even communities have been torn apart: fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, carers, schoolmasters and clergy, all accused, charged and condemned as pariahs. Many have been handed lengthy prison sentences. Some – perhaps most notably Gerry Sandusky, celebrated charity worker and football coach – are likely to remain in prison for life. In “Memory Warp” Mr. Pendergrast considers the evidence in fine detail and finds the evidence wanting. He does not deny the existence of childhood sexual abuse. Indeed he concedes it widespread. Nor does he deny that such abuse is an abhorrent crime. What he does do is argue that to charge and convict anyone of such a crime solely, or largely, on the evidence of “recovered repressed memory testimony” must be considered unsafe. I find his arguments convincing and if there are flaws I confess them beyond my grasp. I also find “Memory Warp” extremely well written and meticulously researched. The author travelled widely to conduct case studies and witness interviews, not only in his native America but also in the U.K where he spent considerable time. To say that “Memory Warp” makes absorbing reading is an understatement; it is literally addictive. Above all this it is surely an important testimony that deserves to be widely read. It is undoubtedly worth five stars.
JeyranMain More than 1 year ago
Memory Warp is a non-fiction book about the “Repressed memory therapy” and how it has affected millions of families since the 1990’s. The book proves that this form of therapy destroys family dynamics and causes false claims against innocent people such as parents and care providers. He writes in order to cause awareness about this fundamental element and provides evidential proof that science has now developed enough to make the differentiation possible. It is known that if you seek mental health treatment in the US health care system, you may actually be harming yourself and your family because some operate on invalidated science theories and practices. This well-researched book indicates that false repressed memories of abuse that have occurred, are in fact fabricated and are damaging people’s lives. As an example, a loving family with normal kids could end up being prosecuted by one of their children simply because their repressed memory tells them that they were sexually abused or tortured by their parents. Things of which never actually happened. I had never heard of this before and therefore, found the topic to be increasingly interesting to read. The literature was strong, and it was fairly obvious to identify that the author knew his field. The author manages to prove that techniques used in order to recover memories can, in fact, devastatingly affect the client. The literary work was compelling, powerful and thought-provoking. I recommend this book to people who are into psychology, repressed memories, science readers and anyone in the field of medicine.
jbarr5 More than 1 year ago
Memory Warp: How the Myth of Repressed Memory Arose and Refuses to Die by Mark Pendergrast This book contains adult situations, abuse and other disturbing topics. What I really like about this book is the research and much references that are quoted about repressed memory. Had read another book by this author and he goes above and beyond to back up his statements. He also gives the very medical technical side of things but in easy to understand language. The other book I had read about Jerry Sandusky is also quoted in this book as it refers to the repressed memory. Like learning about sleep paralysis, I've had these and now I know why. Body and mind memories, good to learn about these and about PTSD and flashbacks. Cult and Satanic insistences that are similar to the memory problems mentioned prior. Like link with hypnotic driving. I got as far as the day care molestations and can't go any further. It's all so disturbing to me. Gave this book a 5 because of all the intense research involved and the research on the memory warp diseases. Received this review copy from the author and this is my honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Outstanding work that now explains why so many families have been destroyed by once loving children.