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On repression, and avoiding red herrings

Brewin, CR; Li, H; McNeilis, J; Ntarantana, V; Unsworth, C; (2020) On repression, and avoiding red herrings. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General , 149 (10) pp. 2001-2004. 10.1037/xge0000973. Green open access

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Abstract

In this response to Otgaar et al. (in press) we point out that their concern with the notion of unconscious repression is a classic example of a red herring, as it has never been endorsed as an explanation of recovered memories. We also note that Otgaar et al. have misunderstood the purpose of our article (Brewin, Li, Ntarantana, Unsworth, & McNeilis, 2019). Its aim was to demonstrate that many of the claims made by psychologists about the public’s views on memory do not rest on sound methodology. Beliefs about repression featured as one example, but it was not our objective to establish what the public do think about repression. We welcome Otgaar et al.’s (in press) additional data but regret that they have repeated the basic error we highlighted, the reliance on a single questionnaire item to assess beliefs about highly complex topics. Nevertheless, their and our findings clearly indicate that understanding of the public’s views on repression remains extremely limited, and insufficient to meaningfully contribute to legal processes.

Type: Article
Title: On repression, and avoiding red herrings
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/xge0000973
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000973
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112635
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