The disastrous nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh at the Supreme Court led to one positive effect : the numerous articles in the American newspapers explaining how traumatic memory works.
Even if these explanations had no effect on the final result, it was a great opportunity for experts to explain these crucial mecanisms that every professionnal who take care of sexual assault survivors should understand.
In the following article Jim Hopper, PHD, clinical psychologist and teaching associate at the Harvard Medical school recalls the “distinction that memory researchers make between central and peripheral details”. He also recalls that “stress and trauma greatly enhance the differential storage of central over peripheral details and that the central details of traumatic experience can get burned into our brains for the rest of our lives”.
He then explains that “the effects of stress on memory formation are time-dependent” and how it also affects the memory encoding and storage. He stresses that this understanding is helpful to assess Dre Ford’s and other sexual assault survivors’ credibility instead of mocking them like Donald Trump did or raise doubts on the facts like Ratchel Mitchell wrote in her final report.
We would like to express our utmost gratitude to Dr. Jim Hopper for this crucial article.
Mié Kohiyama for MoiAussiAmnesie