Author(s): Lindsay DS, Hagen L, Read JD, Wade KA, Garry M
Some trauma-memory-oriented psychotherapists advise clients to review old family photo albums to cue suspected "repressed" memories of childhood sexual abuse. Old photos might cue long-forgotten memories, but when combined with other suggestive influences they might also contribute to false memories. We asked 45 undergraduates to work at remembering three school-related childhood events (two true events provided by parents and one pseudoevent). By random assignment, 23 subjects were also given their school classes' group photos from the years of the to-be-recalled events as memory cues. As predicted, the rate of false-memory reports was dramatically higher in the photo condition than in the no-photo condition. Indeed, the rate of false-memory reports in the photo condition was substantially higher than the rate in any previously published study.