Sexual assault and the brain: Are memory gaps unusual?

, | | October 2, 2018
Ford
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

[Senate judiciary committee hearing on the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh] about a sexual assault accusation provoked different emotions for the millions of Americans watching it. … We’re going to hear now from someone with a specialty in stress, sexual trauma and memory. Jim Hopper is a teaching associate at Harvard Medical School, an expert on sexual assault and its effects on the brain.

MARTIN: Republicans pointed out the gaps in her [Christine Blasey Ford ]memory, that there was a lack of corroborating evidence. Are memory gaps to be expected from an event like this?

HOPPER: Definitely. … In a traumatic experience, as she talked about, there’s this release of chemicals that affects the hippocampus. And that differential encoding between what is focused on and what’s peripheral, that’s greatly amplified.

Related article:  Why growing up poor could hurt your brain in old age

MARTIN: So it would make sense to you that she could remember Brett Kavanaugh’s face and name without a doubt, with a 100 percent certainty. But she couldn’t remember the house she was in. She couldn’t remember when it happened.

HOPPER: Yeah, so that would be totally consistent with how memory works. … But what really got burned into her brain most of all was what happened in that room, and that room was a world away from that house and that party, a world of violence and horror for her.

Read full, original post: The Effects Of Sexual Assault On The Brain

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