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Characteristics of Recovered Memories

Are rape memories different? A comparison of rape, other unpleasant, and pleasant memories among employed women. (Tromp, Koss, & Tharan, 1995)
Impact: The study examined empirically-measured memory characteristics, compared pleasant and unpleasant intense memories as well as rape and other unpleasant memories. Pleasant and unpleasant memories were differentiated by feelings, consequences, and level of unexpectedness. The most powerful discriminator of rape from other unpleasant memories was the degree to which they were less clear and vivid, contained a less meaningful order, were less well-remembered, and were less thought and talked about.

Characteristics of previously forgotten memories of sexual abuse: A descriptive study. (Roe & Schwartz, 1996)
Impact: In a study on women who had previously been hospitalized for sexual trauma, subjects initially remembered trauma in vivid somatosensory or emotional flashbacks, which was later followed by narrative memory. 11% of subjects were unable to tell a coherent narrative, experiencing fragmented memories. These results are generally consistent with the frequent observation that memory for trauma is often manifested in the form of an implicit behavioral memory and not in an explicit narrative memory, and that narrative memory for trauma often occurs progressively over time.

Remembering and forgetting childhood sexual abuse. (Fivush & Edwards, 2004).
Impact: In regard to memories of severe childhood sexual abuse, this study suggests that women with continuous memories may have longer and more coherent narratives than women without continuous memories.

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