June 5, 2016 Comments Off on It’s easy to implant false childhood memories, right? Wrong, says a new review
It’s easy to implant false childhood memories, right? Wrong, says a new review
During the 1990s, groundbreaking work by psychologists demonstrated that human memory is flexible and vulnerable and that it’s very easy for people to experience “false memories” that feel real, but which are actually a fiction. One major implication of this was in the evaluation of adults’ accounts of how they’d been abused in childhood. In a recent journal editorial, for instance, one of the pioneers of false memory research argued that the same techniques used by therapists to recover repressed memories of abuse have been shown in the lab to “produce false memories in substantial numbers of research participants”.
But there are some experts who believe the false memory researchers have gone too far. Chris Brewin and Bernice Andrews are two British psychologists with these concerns. In their new systematic review in Applied Cognitive Psychology they have taken a hard look at all the evidence, and they argue that we need to rethink the idea that false memories are so easily induced….
Consider one key experimental technique known as “imagination inflation”, which aims to provoke false memories in participants simply by asking them to write about fictitious events as if they had really happened.
As a first step participants are surveyed about a range of things that might happen in a typical childhood, and then they are asked to use their imagination to write about one of these events that they believe didn’t actually happen in their own childhood. After this writing task, participants are asked again to rate how likely it is that they actually experienced this event in their own childhood.
Overall, after completing the imaginative writing task, most people tend to shift their beliefs, to think that it’s more plausible that they may actually have experienced the event they wrote about. But in 13 of 14 the published datasets that Brewin and Andrews reviewed where this technique was used, belief only changed by one point or less on an eight-point scale (from strongly believing it didn’t happen on one end of the scale, to strongly believing it did on the other). As these shifts in belief often weren’t enough to tip participants over the scale’s half-way point, this supposed induction of “false memories” involved the sowing of doubt but not the creation of a new memory – most participants still considered that the events they’d written about hadn’t happen to them, it’s just that they were less confident in that belief….
The most powerful technique used to induce false memories is memory implantation. This approach involves parents and authority figures conniving over multiple sessions to persuade a participant that an event really happened in their childhood, going as far in some cases as doctoring photographs to produce incontrovertible proof. These studies often produce new recollections of some kind – up to 78 per cent of participants report new, false memories when doctored photographs are used – but Brewin and Andrews show that when an even more stringent definition of a false memory is used – that it must involve mental images – then this rate of new recollection drops to 25 per cent, and regarding memories that the participant is actually confident in, to only 15 per cent.
Overwhelmingly, most participants in these studies disbelieve the childhood event ever happened, and they doubt any apparently new memories that arise, despite the pressure to think otherwise. Tellingly, when studies have collected ratings of the strength of any new memories from both the participants and the researchers, the researchers’ ratings are routinely higher. After hearing their parents’ stories, the participants typically become better able to narrate a plausible and even elaborate account that persuades the researcher a memory has been created. But often the participants themselves aren’t buying it, and they can draw the distinction between memory-like content and a true memory.
It’s clear that false memory paradigms can shift how we evaluate past events, and can for a minority of participants provoke memory-like experiences. But the rates are very low and the effects variable, and the one that produces the strongest effect – memory implantation – is also the most invasive, and least likely to match the experiences of people in normal life or within a therapy session. Brewin and Andrews suggest their review “indicates that the majority of participants are resistant to the suggestions they are given” and that the rhetoric that false beliefs are easy to instil should be re-examined.
Creating Memories for False Autobiographical Events in Childhood: A Systematic Review
Brewin, C., & Andrews, B. (2016). Creating Memories for False Autobiographical Events in Childhood: A Systematic Review Applied Cognitive Psychology DOI: 10.1002/acp.3220
Using a framework that distinguishes autobiographical belief, recollective experience, and confidence in memory, we review three major paradigms used to suggest false childhood events to adults: imagination inflation, false feedback and memory implantation. Imagination inflation and false feedback studies increase the belief that a suggested event occurred by a small amount such that events are still thought unlikely to have happened. In memory implantation studies, some recollective experience for the suggested events is induced on average in 47% of participants, but only in 15% are these experiences likely to be rated as full memories.
We conclude that susceptibility to false memories of childhood events appears more limited than has been suggested. The data emphasise the complex judgements involved in distinguishing real from imaginary recollections and caution against accepting investigator-based ratings as necessarily corresponding to participants’ self-reports.
Turkish teacher given 508-year sentence for child abuse, Pseudoscientific False Memory Syndrome, Jared Fogle texts show pursuit of young victims
April 21, 2016 Comments Off on Turkish teacher given 508-year sentence for child abuse, Pseudoscientific False Memory Syndrome, Jared Fogle texts show pursuit of young victims
Turkish teacher given 508-year sentence for child abuse
By REUTERS 04/20/2016
A Turkish teacher accused of sexually abusing children in guest houses run by Islamic foundations was handed a 508-year jail sentence in a case that has stirred recrimination between a government with roots in political Islam and its opponents….
The teacher, identified in the Turkish media as a 54-year-old male, received the sentence on Wednesday for abusing 10 children in homes allegedly run by the Ensar and KAIMDER charitable foundations in the conservative southern city of Karaman in 2012-15. http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Turkish-teacher-given-508-year-sentence-for-child-abuse-451867
False Memory Syndrome
The term False Memory Syndrome was created in 1992. It has been called “a pseudoscientific syndrome that was developed to defend against claims of child abuse.” The FMS was created by parents who claimed to be falsely accused of child sexual abuse. The False Memory Syndrome was described as “a widespread social phenomenon where misguided therapists cause patients to invent memories of sexual abuse.”
Research has shown that most delayed memories of childhood abuse are true. In general, it has been shown that false allegations of childhood sexual abuse are rare, with some studies showing rates as low as one percent and some studies showing slightly higher rates. It has been found that children tend to understate rather than overstate the extent of any abuse experienced.
It has been stated that misinformation on the topic of child sexual abuse is widespread and that the media have contributed to this problem by reporting favorably on unproven and controversial claims like the False Memory Syndrome.
Docs: Jared Fogle texts show pursuit of young victims
By Crimesider Staff CBS News April 19, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Text messages sent between prostitutes and Jared Fogle are the focal point of documents filed Monday in response to the former Subway pitchman’s appeal of his 15-and-a-half-year prison sentence.
Jared Fogle reveals how he lured minors in secret recordings
Fogle’s attorneys have argued that the sentence handed down in November 2015 was too harsh. Prosecutors sought a 12 1/2-year sentence, while Fogle’s attorneys asked for five years. Fogle claims he was punished, in part, for what amounted to “fantasies.” But the government said in its Monday filing that Fogle’s explanation is inaccurate.
“Fogle’s ‘fantasies’ were grounded in reality, in that he fantasized about and sought actively to repeat what he had already done, i.e., pay minors for sex,” prosecutors wrote.
The government cited text messages it said proves that Fogle developed relationships with adult escorts “and offered them finder’s fees to provide him with access to minors.”
“I’ll pay you big for a 14- or 15-year-old,” he texted one escort.
In another conversation, he asked for “young girls or boys” and said he’d pay at least $400 if they could prove their age….
December 24, 2014 Comments Off on Couple accused of abusing a child in ‘black magic’ case are found guilty of all counts
Couple accused of abusing a child in ‘black magic’ case are found guilty of all counts Dec 22, 2014 By David Deans
Carolee Hickman, 64, indecently assaulted a schoolgirl and held her down while her husband Albert John Hickman, 65, raped her
A woman accused of using black magic to abuse a child, and her husband, who raped the child as she held her down, have been found guilty of all charges by a jury at Cardiff Crown Court.
Carolee Hickman, 64, was on trial for indecently assaulting a schoolgirl and holding the victim down while her husband Albert John Hickman, 65, raped her during the 1970s.
She had been accused of grooming and abusing the young schoolgirl when they lived in South Wales at the time, after petrifying her with black magic threats.
The couple, both of the Wheatlands, Baschurch, Shrewsbury, were found guilty on all counts….
“Carolee said she was a witch and would come and get me and would make my mother ill,” the victim said.
“She even said she could kill my mother if she wanted to.
“She had a knife with a jewelled handle kept in a wooden box with carvings on the top.
“She cut my hand and sucked the blood out of it.
“There were tarot cards, she used to tell our fortunes and she even had a black cape.”….
A large number of books on spells and the occult were found when officers arrested the grandmother and her husband at their home in Shropshire…..
Carolee Hickman told police they separated while he was serving 10 years (reduced to eight on appeal), and she five years for child sex offences, which they had been convicted of in 1982 in Northampton….
Mr Hickman was sentenced for five sex offences and Mrs Hickman for indecent assault and for aiding and abetting another man to rape a 14 year old girl as part of a devil worship ritual.
Four arrested for ritual killing, The Witch-Hunt Narrative Untrue, Loftus Misrepresents Important Case
October 27, 2013 Comments Off on Four arrested for ritual killing, The Witch-Hunt Narrative Untrue, Loftus Misrepresents Important Case
Four arrested for ritual killing of five-year-old in Nigeria Africa Saturday 26 October 2013
KANO – Four people were arrested in south-eastern Nigeria in the ritual killing of a five-year-old boy whose body was mutilated before being dumped in a water tank, police said Saturday….
Kidnappings for ritual killings are rampant in Nigeria, particularly during election campaigns….
The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children Hardcover – February 13, 2014
by Ross E. Cheit
In the 1980s, a series of child sex abuse cases rocked the United States….In the early 1990s, a new narrative with remarkable staying power emerged: the child sex abuse cases were symptomatic of a ‘moral panic’ that had produced a witch hunt. A central claim in this new witch hunt narrative was that the children who testified were not reliable and easily swayed by prosecutorial suggestion. In time, the notion that child sex abuse was a product of sensationalized over-reporting and far less endemic than originally thought became the new common sense.
But did the new witch hunt narrative accurately represent reality? As Ross Cheit demonstrates in his exhaustive account of child sex abuse cases in the past two and a half decades, purveyors of the witch hunt narrative never did the hard work of examining court records in the many cases that reached the courts throughout the nation. Instead, they treated a couple of cases as representative and concluded that the issue was blown far out of proportion. Drawing on years of research into cases in a number of states, Cheit shows that the issue had not been blown out of proportion at all. In fact, child sex abuse convictions were regular occurrences, and the crime occurred far more frequently than conventional wisdom would have us believe….
Loftus Misrepresents Important Case
September 26th, 2013
In a recent TED talk about memory, psychology professor Elizabeth Loftus misrepresented the basic facts of a case study that led her to hire a private investigator and write an article that caused the subject of the case study to sue her for invasion of privacy. Loftus has mentioned the civil suit frequently in recent appearances and told audiences how terribly unfair it was that she was sued. Given the importance of these events to Professor Loftus, one wonders why she misrepresented the basic facts of the underlying case.
Loftus said the case was about a women who “accused her mother of sexual abuse based on a repressed memory” (See the 13-minute mark of this talk). That is not true. The accusation against her mother came in an evaluation when the child was 6 years old! What makes the underlying case so important is that the girl forgot the details, which had been videotaped at the time, and recalled them spontaneously at age 17….