Dr James Ost’s contributions to the work of the British False Memory Society

Felstead, Kevin and French, Christopher C.. 2021. Dr James Ost’s contributions to the work of the British False Memory Society. Memory, 30(6), pp. 669-677. ISSN 0965-8211 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The British False Memory Society (BFMS) is a registered charity founded in 1993 in response to an epidemic of false claims of past childhood sexual abuse by adults in therapy. The accusers believe they have recovered unconscious memories of a hidden past, but scientific and other evidence raise the possibility of false memories or retrospective reappraisal. The BFMS aims to raise awareness about false memory and to reduce the impact of the resulting false accusations. Dr James Ost was an active member of the BFMS’s Scientific and Professional Advisory Board. Three lines of his research were particularly relevant to the work of the BFMS. The first of these was his investigations of retractors. His insights provided a deeper understanding of processes involved in the formation and subsequent rejection of false memories and beliefs relating to such allegations. He also carried out experimental studies providing empirical proof that false memories can be implanted under well controlled conditions. Finally, he carried out, and produced reviews of, surveys of misconceptions about the nature of memory, thus highlighting issues that have major implications for the working of the legal system. Dr Ost also served as an expert defence witness on a number of occasions.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):



British False Memory Society; false memories; recovered memories; retractors

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Psychology > Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit (APRU)


20 January 2021Accepted
8 February 2021Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 Jan 2021 11:06

Last Modified:

19 Jul 2022 04:20

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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