People who suffer a traumatic experience often don't talk about it, and many forget it over time. But not talking about something doesn't always mean you'll forget it; if you try to force yourself not to think about white bears, soon you'll be imagining polar bears doing the polka. A group of psychological scientists explore the relationship between silence and memories in a new paper published in Perspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
"There's this idea, with silence, that if we don't talk about something, it starts fading," says Charles B. Stone of Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium, an author of the paper. But that belief isn't necessarily backed up by empirical psychological research—a lot of it comes from a Freudian belief that everyone has deep-seated issues we're repressing and ought to talk about. The real relationship between silence and memory is much more complicated, Stone says.