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Repressed memories

Laurie Davison ldavison at pop.uky.edu
Wed Dec 11 12:34:32 EST 1996

   I've been unsure as to whether to post this here or to an evolution 
newsgroup, but I believe that this group may be able to at least 
partially answer my question. 
   What is the neural mechanism by which traumatic memories (such as 
childhood abuse, etc) are repressed? Since this has only been a 
recognized phenomenon for a short time, it may be that we still don't 
know, but I would appreciate your input nonetheless.
   My reason for asking is that while "stuffing" ones emotions during a 
traumatic event in order to get through it intact seems like a survivable 
trait that may well have evolved as far back as Australopithicus, 
"unstuffing" them later during adulthood does *not* strike me as 
survivable at all. I am wondering why the brain would chose to "remember" 
something later that it had successfully "forgotten" at the time. Does 
this make sense? I'll clarify if needed...
   Any ideas? I'm mainly just curious:)


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