Trauma and Cognitive Science: A Meeting of Minds, Science, and Human Experience

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Decipher the complex interplay of neurology, psychology, trauma, and memory!

In the midst of the controversies over how repressed, false, and recovered memories should be interpreted, Trauma and Cognitive Science presents reliable original research instead of rhetoric. This landmark volume examines the way different traumas influence memory, information processing, and suggestibility. The research provides testable theories on why people forget some kinds of childhood abuse and other traumas. It bridges the cognitive science and clinical approaches to traumatic stress studies.

Written by the foremost researchers in the field, including Bessel van der Kolk and Jennifer Freyd, these scientific evaluations of the way traumatic memories are processed offer powerful new perspectives on the interplay of biology and psychology. Trauma and Cognitive Science discusses a range of traumas, including combat, child abuse, and sexual assault across the lifespan. Fascinating perceptual experiments shed light on the cognitive uses of dissociation, the encoding and recall of memory, and the effects of early trauma on subsequent information processing. Trauma and Cognitive Science offers solid information on the most challenging questions in this field:

  • How is memory encoded, stored, and retrieved? How is it forgotten?
  • How does trauma influence these processes?
  • What kinds of memories can be created by suggestion?
  • What physical changes take place in the brain under traumatic stress?
  • How is consciousness disturbed during and after trauma?
  • What are the ethical, clinical, and societal implications of traumatic stress studies?
  • How can people suffering from traumatic memories be healed?
Trauma and Cognitive Science also offers an astonishing array of true case studies, including the story of an adult woman who was raped, went to court, and saw her rapist convicted—and then forgot the whole traumatic episode. The independently corroborated accounts of recovered memories and the carefully designed research studies on multiple modes and levels of memory may offer the key to understanding how we remember and why we forget. The results of these controlled scientific studies have wide-ranging implications for abuse survivors, combat veterans, rape victims, and people who have survived traumatic events from earthquakes to car accidents.

Written in clear, accessible prose, Trauma and Cognitive Science belongs on the bookshelf of all mental health professionals, researchers in the areas of traumatic stress and child abuse, attorneys, judges, and survivors of abuse and trauma.

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Editorial Reviews

Judith L. Alpert
Important. . . . Bursts with intellectual vitality, collaboration, and integration. A cutting-edge work which considers one of the most controversial topics in contemporary psychology, the issue of processing trauma. Contributors include such leading researchers as van der Kolk, Pezdek, Schooler, Freyd, Bremner, Anderson, Koss, Fivush, Classen, Brewin, and Andrews. —NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis
Judith L. Alpert
IMPORTANT. . . . Bursts with intellectual vitality, collaboration, and integration. A CUTTING-EDGE WORK which considers one of the most controversial topics in contemporary psychology, the issue of processing trauma. Contributors include such leading researchers as van der Kolk, Pezdek, Schooler, Freyd, Bremner, Anderson, Koss, Fivush, Classen, Brewin, and Andrews.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789013736
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents


  • About the Contributors
  • Foreword: Entering the Secret Garden: The Interface of Cognitive Neuroscience and Trauma Research
  • The Meeting of Trauma and Cognitive Science: Facing Challenges and Creating Opportunities at the Crossroads
  • Exploring the Nature of Traumatic Memory: Combining Clinical Knowledge with Laboratory Methods
  • Retrieving, Assessing, and Classifying Traumatic Memories: A Preliminary Report on Three Case Studies of a New Standardized Method
  • A Cognitive Analysis of the Role of Suggestibility in Explaining Memories for Abuse
  • The Role of the Self in False Memory Creation
  • Discovering Memories of Abuse in the Light of Meta-Awareness
  • Perspectives on Memory for Trauma and Cognitive Processes Associated with Dissociative Tendencies
  • A Biological Model for Delayed Recall of Childhood Abuse
  • Active Forgetting: Evidence for Functional Inhibition as a Source of Memory Failure
  • Experiential Avoidance and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Cognitive Mediational Model of Rape Recovery
  • Autobiographical Memory Disturbances in Childhood Abuse Survivors
  • A Preliminary Report Comparing Trauma-Focused and Present-Focused Group Therapy Against a Wait-Listed Condition Among Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors with PTSD
  • Dialogue Between Speakers and Attendees at the 1998 Meeting on Trauma and Cognitive Science: Questions and Answers About Traumatic Memory
  • Finding a Secret Garden in Trauma Research
  • Index
  • Reference Notes Included
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