April 14, 2021 Comments Off on Elizabeth Loftus
– A Brief History of the False Memory Research of Elizabeth Loftus
– Ethics Complaints Filed Against FMSF Board Member Elizabeth Loftus
– “Lost in a Shopping Mall” A Breach of Professional Ethics
– Quotes: Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D.
– The Alleged Ethical Violations of Elizabeth Loftus in the Case of Jane Doe
A Brief History of the False Memory Research of Elizabeth Loftus Lynn Crook, M.Ed. https://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/a-brief-history-of-the-false-memory-research-of-elizabeth-loftus-2/
The lost- in- a-shopping-mall study (Loftus and Pickrell, 1995) provided initial scientific support for the claim that child sexual abuse accusations are false memories planted by therapists. However, the mall study researchers faced a problem early on—the participants could tell the difference between the true and false memories….
1993 – The first indication the study might not live up to the challenge became public in 1993. Coan reported in his honors thesis that six subjects had completed the study, and “all subjects were able to correctly identify the false memory.” (Coan, 1993, p. 16.)….
1995 – In June, evidence of possible research misconduct in an earlier study was reported in a journal of the American Psychological Association. Koss, Tromp and Tharan (1995, p. 120) demonstrated that the data in Loftus and Burns (1982, p. 320) did not support the authors’ claim that “those who saw the mentally shocking version showed poorer retention of the details of the films” (Loftus and Burns, p. 318). Instead, the data indicated poorer retention for one unimportant detail. (See:
Ethics Complaints Filed Against FMSF Board Member Elizabeth Loftus
American Psychological Association Declines to Investigate
Journal article by Treating Abuse Today
In December 1995, two women filed ethics complaints with the American Psychological Association (APA) against Elizabeth Loftus, PhD, regarding her published statements about two legal cases involving delayed memories of sexual abuse. Citing procedural considerations, however, the APA has declined to investigate the women’s ethics complaints.
Jennifer Hoult (a concert harpist living in New York) and Lynn Crook (a Washington State consultant) each filed separate complaints with the APA, alleging that Loftus mischaracterized the facts of their legal cases in published articles. Both women brought successful civil suits because of the sexual abuse that the fathers (and the mother, in Crook’s case) perpetrated against them during their childhoods. At their trials, they presented corroborative evidence that met the requirements for judicial proof of their allegations.
Loftus serves on the Scientific and Professional Advisory Board of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, Inc (FMSF). She also had been an active member of the APA since 1973, but she resigned in January 1996, shortly after the filing of the complaints. In a brief telephone interview with Treating Abuse Today, Loftus confirmed her resignation from the APA, but she denied any knowledge of the ethics complaints. She also cautioned that Treating Abuse Today should not state or imply that she resigned from the APA to avoid investigation of the ethics complaints…..
In her complaint, Hoult alleges that Loftus used distortion and misstatement of fact to seriously misrepresent Hoult’s legal case. In 1988 Hoult brought a civil suit against her father, alleging that he had raped and otherwise sexually abused her throughout her childhood. After several years of legal wrangling, the case finally went to trial in June 1993. On July 1, 1993, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Jennifer Hoult, awarding her $500,000 for the suffering caused by her father’s incestuous abuse. All higher courts have upheld the jury’s decision, including the first circuit appellate court. When Hoult’s father petitioned the US Supreme Court, his petition was rejected as untimely. At some point during all these proceedings, Hoult’s father joined the FMSF…..
Hoult also alleges that Loftus used mischaracterization and omission of facts to misconstrue Hoult’s legal case against her father. She pointed out many inaccuracies that support this allegation. In the article, for instance, Loftus claims that “Jennifer was a 23-year-old musician who recovered memories in therapy of her father raping her from the time she was 4” (1995, p. 26). Actually, Hoult began to remember the abuse at 24, at which time she was an artificial intelligence software engineer. Records in the case show that the bulk of her memories emerged outside of therapy. Furthermore, Hoult never stated that the rapes began when she was four, a “fact” apparently created by Loftus for the purposes of her article….
In October 1991, Lynn Crook brought a civil suit against her parents based on her delayed memories of childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by her parents. Loftus testified as an expert witness for the defense. On March 4, 1994, the judge in the case ruled in Crook’s favor, awarding her $149,580 in damages against her parents, who chose not to appeal the case to any higher court.
In the January/February 1995 issue of PSYCHOLOGY TODAY, Jill Neimark published an article titled “It’s Magical. It’s Malleable. It’s . . . Memory.” In her article, Neimark quotes Loftus, who gives an abridged and (according to Crook) seriously distorted account of her case against her father….
In an interview with Treating Abuse Today, Crook stated that Loftus’s 79-word direct quote describing her case contained nine misstatements. “Loftus reworded events I recalled, and incorrectly claimed that a ‘fantastical’ memory had resulted in my filing this case.” Crook pointed out, for instance, that Loftus contradicted her father’s own sworn testimony that his health was “excellent.” Crook also argues that Loftus should have pointed out that she (Crook) won the case, after presenting evidence that included testimony from two of her sisters who also remembered incestuous abuse perpetrated against them by their father….
In May, David Corwin and Erna Olafson published a case study of a videotaped, spontaneously-recovered memory of child sexual abuse (Corwin and Olafson, 1997). The videotape provided evidence to suggest that a repressed memory of childhood abuse could be recalled. (See http://data.memberclicks.com/site/apsac/jane_doe.pdf). Loftus hired Shapiro Investigations to assist in the investigation, and travelled to California to interview Doe’s family members, allegedly introducing herself as the supervisor of David Corwin whom Jane Doe knew and trusted. In 1999, Jane Doe filed an ethics complaint against Loftus with the University of Washington. In July 2001, the University completed a 20-month investigation during which Loftus was not allowed to discuss the case. The University required Loftus to complete an ethics course and to restrict her relationship with Jane Doe’s mother….
“Lost in a Shopping Mall” A Breach of Professional Ethics
ETHICS & BEHAVIOR, vol. 9, #1, pp. 39-50
Lynn S. Crook
Martha C. Dean
ABSTRACT: The “lost in a shopping mall” study has been cited to support claims that psychotherapists can implant memories of false autobiographical information of childhood trauma in their patients. The mall study originated in 1991 as 5 pilot experiments involving 3 children and 2 adult participants. The University of Washington Human Subjects Committee granted approval for the mall study on August 10, 1992. The preliminary results with the 5 pilot subjects were announced 4 days later. An analysis of the mall study shows that beyond the external misrepresentations, internal scientific methodological errors cast doubt on the validity of the claims that have been attributed to the mall study within scholarly and legal arenas. The minimal involvement or, in some cases, negative impact of collegial consultation, academic supervision, and peer review throughout the evolution of the mall study are reviewed….
Quotes: Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D.
It’s not unusual for killers to have amnesia about event. Saturday, February 15, 1997, Section: News, Page: A3 It is possible to commit a murder and then forget you did it, according to a leading memory researcher. A significant proportion of people who commit murders have some amnesia surrounding the event, particularly if it is a crime of passion, University of Washington psychologist Elizabeth Loftus said yesterday.
On Ted Bundy – Loftus testified as a defense expert for Bundy in 1976, Bundy was found guilty of aggravated kidnapping
Loftus, E. and Ketcham, K. (1991). Witness for the Defense. St. Martin’s Press: New York. The thought had occurred to me as I was flying to Salt Lake City earlier that day that Ted Bundy might offer to let me stay in his apartment” (p. 74).
Loftus, E. and Ketcham, K. (1991). Witness for the Defense. St. Martin’s Press: New York. In court the next morning I sat at a table in the judge’s chambers. On the other side of the table, close enough for me to reach across and touch him, sat Ted Bundy. He’s adorable, I thought, surprised at my first impression, because I’d pictured him in my mind as brooding, dark, intense disdain (p. 83).
The Alleged Ethical Violations of Elizabeth Loftus in the Case of Jane Doe
In 1997, David Corwin published an article in the May 1997 Child Maltreatment Issue “Videotaped discovery of a reportedly unrecallable memory of child sexual abuse: comparison with a childhood interview videotaped 11 years before.” The woman named as Jane Doe, had agreed to this publication of the article of her case with Corwin. Loftus, then with the University of Washington and Melvin Guyer, with the University of Michigan and a private investigator ascertained the real identity of Jane Doe. They interviewed her mother, brother, stepmother and foster mother….
Loftus’ alleged violations of ethics darkened Loftus’ relationship with the University of Washington (UW).
Her colleagues there questioned the methods she had used in her challenge of Corwin’s work. University officials began a 21-month investigation of Loftus’ research on this case. David Hodge, Dean at UW’s College of Arts and Sciences stated that university rules for research on human subjects were primarily written for medical experimentation. John Slattery, director of the UW’s Office of Scholarly Integrity in 1997 stated that Loftus’ would have had to seek UW’s permission to interview people and probably would have been required to give UW’s IRB a list of questions being asked and a form explaining the risks of being interviewed. She probably would have been required to ask Corwin for permission to interview Jane and review records.
But Loftus believes she is justified in exposing Jane’s identity. She believes that the secrecy rules used to protect patients or research subjects should not be used to hide the truth. In the middle of the investigation, Loftus called Corwin. Corwin told Loftus that Jane wanted to communicate with Loftus through him. Jane told the University of Washington’s officials that she disagreed with Loftus’ finding her mother and her stepmother for interviews. Loftus also admitted befriending Jane’s biological mother. Loftus admits she was largely motivated by her desire to unite mother and daughter (Jane). Loftus was cleared of wrongdoing by the UW committee, but the committee required her to get the permission of the IRB before talking to Jane’s mother again. The committee also wanted Loftus to take an ethics’ class. After this, Loftus left UW for the University of California, Irvine….
Loftus is facing an impending lawsuit by Jane Doe (Nicole Taus) in Solano County, California. Loftus and several others are being accused of defamation, libel per se, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional invasion of privacy, distress and damages. Taus alleges that Loftus’ research disclosed her private information and revealed her identity. Taus lawsuits claims this has subjected her and her family to additional emotional distress from past events, that Loftus and Guyer didn’t conduct or plan their research with regard for her safety and welfare and that procedures were not in place for the researchers or Taus herself to watch the project and report any possible problems. Taus also states that Loftus and Guyer purposefully mischaracterized the records and information they received and reviewed….
Loftus obviously made a boundary crossing when she moved from the role of researcher to friend. Loftus’ objectivity may also have been diminished by her friendship with Jane’s mother. Also, could Loftus’ desire to unite mother and daughter make her biased to the mother’s perspective? If it is unhealthy for a psychologist to become friends with a client, then should a researcher become friends with one of their subjects?….
False Memory Syndrome at 30 – Flawed Science, Scientific Evidence for Dissociative Amnesia,- Michael Salter – Organized Abuse, Evan Rachel Wood accuses Marilyn Manson of abuse,- Paedophile Karl Sabbagh jailed for grooming child (False Memory Proponent), Survivorship 2021 Winter Journal and May Conference
February 12, 2021 Comments Off on False Memory Syndrome at 30 – Flawed Science, Scientific Evidence for Dissociative Amnesia,- Michael Salter – Organized Abuse, Evan Rachel Wood accuses Marilyn Manson of abuse,- Paedophile Karl Sabbagh jailed for grooming child (False Memory Proponent), Survivorship 2021 Winter Journal and May Conference
– The False Memory Syndrome at 30: How Flawed Science Turned into Conventional Wisdom
The Scientific Evidence for Dissociative Amnesia
– Michael Salter – Organized Abuse– Evan Rachel Wood accuses Marilyn Manson of abuse
– Paedophile Karl Sabbagh, author and film maker, jailed for grooming child (False Memory Proponent)
– Survivorship Notes and Journal – 2021 Winter Journal
– Survivorship Online Conference – May 21 – 23, 2021
The False Memory Syndrome at 30: How Flawed Science Turned into Conventional Wisdom
The false memory syndrome stands in direct scientific opposition to the wealth of evidence supporting dissociative amnesia—a psychological defense mechanism which, according to trauma therapists, enables people to split off painful events from conscious awareness for years….
Moreover, the broad acceptance of the false memory syndrome in the cultural ecosystem can end up silencing, or even shaming, people like Jennifer Freyd, who believe that they have stumbled upon painful experiences in their childhood and seek to understand the truth about their own past and its connection to their current feelings. In addition, in the courtroom, the Freyds’ view of memory can serve as a protective shield for those who have, in fact, sexually abused children…
Another problematic flaw with the mall study is its laboratory setting. “Loftus is not a clinician and never studied how people process traumatic experiences,” said psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. “Trauma often overwhelms the central nervous system, so the brain may not be able to register it fully when it happens. That’s why delayed memories of abuse are not uncommon.”
Finally, critics have pointed out that the study is riddled with methodological flaws and lapses in its reporting of results. For example, in “Lost in the Mall: False Memory or False Defense,” published in 2019 in The Journal of Child Custody, psychologists Ruth Blizzard and Morgan Shaw reported that Loftus tossed out six subjects who were in her original 1993 study—a move which constitutes a major ethical lapse for an experimental researcher. “The mall study,” they concluded, “has received a minimal amount of critical analysis, regardless of the vague and contradictory reporting of results, failure to report negative results, lack of definition of false memory, and conflation of informal observations with formal research.”…
Loftus was the sole defense witness called in the February 2005 trial of the late Paul Shanley, the so-called “Boston street priest,” who had admitted on several occasions since the late 1970s—to both journalists and to church authorities—that he had abused numerous boys. The 2005 case concerned a Boston area firefighter who claimed that Shanley had raped him on numerous occasions when he was between six and nine years old. The accuser, who was 27 at the time of the trial, testified that he had forgotten about the years of abuse for about 15 years….
The Scientific Evidence for Dissociative Amnesia The flip side to the false memory studies is a large body of research, conducted over the last century, that provides evidence that dissociative amnesia is, in fact, a common reaction to trauma. However, this research has often been ignored in news articles and textbooks that discuss the false memory syndrome. “There are now hundreds of studies in lots of different populations showing that people forget trauma,” said psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. “We see it in victims of sexual abuse, natural disaster, torture, rape, war, and kidnapping. And research also shows that delayed memories of abuse are as reliable as continuous memories.” One of the psychologists who has synthesized much of this research on dissociative amnesia has been Jennifer Freyd herself. “I am a memory psychologist, so I needed to make sense of what had happened to me,” she said. In 1996, she published Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse (1996)—a book published by Harvard University Press, which describes what she has called betrayal trauma theory. “Memory of trauma can be dangerous to children,” she stated, summing up the central argument of her book. “They may need to forget in order to function in important relationships.”….
Evidence for dissociative amnesia has also been gathered by Brown University political scientist Ross Cheit, who reports that he forgot his own sexual abuse at the age of 12 by a camp counselor for decades. In the mid-1990s, he launched the Recovered Memory Project, and he has now gathered 110 corroborated cases of recovered memory. He also has compiled a long list of citations to scholarly articles on dissociative amnesia in various populations such as child abuse victims and Holocaust survivors. Cheit spent a decade writing a book, The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology and the Sexual Abuse of Children (2014), in which he reviewed the major child abuse cases over the previous 30 years—from the McMartin Preschool case of the 1980s through the priest abuse cases and the Jerry Sandusky case. In it, he documents how there has been a bias in the media against recognizing dissociative amnesia, even though in the clinical world it is well known that “sexual abuse disclosures are often delayed and then disclosed in bits and pieces.”
Organised abuse has been reported by child victims, adult survivors and a range of professionals for over thirty years. However, organised abuse remains poorly understood.
This website has been developed by criminologist Scientia Associate Professor Michael Salter who specialises in the study of organised abuse and complex trauma. The aim of the website is to disseminate reliable information about organised abuse to professionals, victims and survivors.
Scientia Associate Professor Michael Salter
I am the Scientia Associate Professor in Criminology at the University of New South Wales, Australia. I specialise in the study of organised sexual abuse. In addition to my work on complex trauma, I have researched and published widely on violence against women and children.
I sit on the Scientific Advisory Committee and the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. I am an Associate Editor of Child Abuse Review, the peer-reviewed journal of the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and I sit on the editorial board of the Journal of Trauma and Dissociation.
I act as a consultant and trainer to a range of non-government organisations and government departments at the state and national level. I am an expert advisor to the Australian Office of the eSafety Commissioner and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
Marilyn Manson: His satanic majesty
Evan Rachel Wood describing the abuse she suffered when she was in a relationship with Marilyn Manson
Evan Rachel Wood accuses Marilyn Manson of abuse
2 February 2021
On Monday, Wood alleged that Manson was her abuser for the first time via a statement posted on her Instagram account.
“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson,” the Westworld actress claimed.
“He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission.”
Remembering our Childhood: How Memory Betrays Us
Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780199218417 Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015
Freyds and Feuds Karl Sabbagh
This chapter describes the British False Memory Society (BFMS) and its American equivalent, the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF). These organizations are made up of parents who had been accused of abuse — they would say falsely — by one of their children.
Paedophile Karl Sabbagh, author and film maker, jailed for grooming child
By Will Walker
27th September 2019
A RENOWNED author and filmmaker was secretly a depraved paedophile who preyed on a ‘vulnerable’ child before grooming her.
Predator Karl Sabbagh began talking to his 14-year-old victim about films and literature but the conversation soon moved on to him sending videos of himself performing sex acts.
The 77-year-old pervert of Crab Tree Close, Bloxham, went on to ask the child to ‘stop shaving her pubic hair’ and later sent her a vibrator in the post….”He sent a video of himself masturbating, there was talk of meeting her.”….
Sentencing, Judge Peter Ross, jailed Sabbagh for 45 months and ordered that he sign the sex offenders register for life.
Survivorship Notes and Journal
2021 Winter Journal
Institutional Child Abuse – Annika Lundin and Randy Noblitt
Boulspo, 2016 – Wendy Hoffman
My Personal Experience – Victoria Skye
Whitman’s Samplers on the dining room table – Forest Hills, 1940s – Wendy Hoffman
Now and Then – Victoria Skye
Survivorship Online Conference – May 21 – 23, 2021 “
Being a survivor/clinician in a changing world” https://survivorship.org/the-survivorship-ritual-abuse-and-mind-control-2021-conference/
Survivorship is one of the oldest and most respected organizations supporting survivors of extreme child abuse, including sadistic sexual abuse, ritualistic abuse, mind control, and torture. Survivorship provides resources, healing, and community for survivors; training and education for professionals who may serve survivors; and support for survivors’ partners and other allies. The organization functions as a lifeline for survivors who may be isolated emotionally or geographically. Through community outreach and training, Survivorship also raises awareness about these difficult issues.
One Hundred Children: A Parable for Healing from Dissociation-savvy Mind Control Presenter: Ellen Lacter, Ph.D.
Production of Sadistic Child abuse Materials: Psychology of the Victims and Perpetrators Presenter: Ellen Lacter, Ph.D.
Self-Esteem Presenter: Wendy Hoffman
Mind Control and How to Stop it. Presenter: Neil Brick
The Memory War – Jennifer Freyd accused her father of sexual abuse. Her parents’ attempt to discredit her created a defense for countless sex offenders.
January 19, 2021 Comments Off on The Memory War – Jennifer Freyd accused her father of sexual abuse. Her parents’ attempt to discredit her created a defense for countless sex offenders.
The Memory War – Jennifer Freyd accused her father of sexual abuse. Her parents’ attempt to discredit her created a defense for countless sex offenders.
By Katie Heaney
“Pam and Peter Freyd retaliated. In the wake of Jennifer’s disclosure, they formed an organization called the False Memory Syndrome Foundation. Through the nonprofit’s work, they popularized a term — false memory — that became one of the most effective tools to instill doubt not only about allegations of child sex abuse but in all forms of sexual violence. Between 1992, when the foundation was launched, and December 2019, when it abruptly shuttered, it bolstered the defense strategy employed by countless sex offenders, from Michael Jackson to Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.”
“Peter (Freyd) was always interested in Jennifer’s (Freyd) sex life. On one occasion, when kissing a high-school boyfriend while seated on her bed, Jennifer caught her father watching them from her open doorway. Another time, she found him reading her diary; he accused her of purposely leaving it out where he could see it. Jennifer felt an enormous relief when she left for college at age 16, though visiting home for the holidays made it clear that little had changed: When guests came over for dinner and drinks, Peter told them the family’s toy poodle, Carbon, humped people to whom Jennifer was sexually attracted.
“In a variation on the (Lost in the Mall) mall study published in 1997, researchers sought to emphasize this distinction by presenting subjects with one true memory and two false ones: being lost in the mall and receiving a rectal enema. The hypothesis was that the less plausible event, the enema, wouldn’t create false memories so easily. Three of 20 subjects “remembered” having been lost in the mall. Zero remembered the enema.
“The typical response was ‘No fucking way. That didn’t happen,’ ” says Kathy Pezdek, a cognitive psychologist and an expert in eyewitness memory, who conducted the experiment.
Coan, Loftus’s former student and now a neuroscientist and psychology professor at the University of Virginia, has decidedly mixed feelings about the experiment he inadvertently spearheaded. “I’m slow enough on the uptake that it took me a while to realize that the study I was doing was making people who had been sexually abused feel like I was their enemy,” he tells me. “That was completely devastating to me.” Although he has been asked to testify about false memory in countless court cases, Coan has always refused. He just doesn’t think the mall study is sufficiently relevant. In her excitement, he thinks, Loftus may have “mischaracterized” what started out as an undergraduate assignment for extra credit.
“I got five points,” Coan says. “Five points and decades of grief.”
“….But while the (False Memory Syndrome) foundation may be gone, its legacy is likely to be long-lasting. Stories of brainwashed daughters falsely accusing their parents have become a staple of popular culture, from talk shows like Sally Jessy Raphael to PBS documentaries like Divided Memories. “I was just astounded that this big lie could be perpetrated with impunity and with great success across all major media,” says Hopper, the Harvard psychologist. The concept of false memory does more than provide child sex abusers with a pseudoscientific defense — it offers a perversely reassuring explanation for anyone who wants to believe that such abuse is less common than it actually is. While statistics vary by source, an epidemiological overview of worldwide data estimates that 8 percent of boys and 20 percent of girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. And contrary to the FMSF’s claims, most victims of child sex abuse are extremely reluctant to share their abuse with others or reporting it to the police.”
January 3, 2020 Comments Off on False Memory Syndrome Foundation Information Articles
False Memory Syndrome Foundation Information Articles
“Lost in a Shopping Mall” A Breach of Professional Ethics
Ethics Complaints Filed Against Prominent FMSF Board Member
APA Declines To Investigate
Ethics Complaints Filed Against FMSF Board Member Elizabeth Loftus
The Alleged Ethical Violations of Elizabeth Loftus in the Case of Jane Doe
There have been allegations that Elizabeth Loftus violated ethical codes in the field of psychology. (Al-Kurdi, 1998; Notes from the controversy ethics complaints filed against prominent FMSF board member APA declines to investigate). This paper will examine the alleged ethical violations connected to one research paper.
“Remembering Dangerously” & Hoult v. Hoult:
The Myth of Repressed Memory that Elizabeth Loftus Created
Taus v. Loftus et al.
The measures used to reinvestigate her case are alleged by Taus to include misrepresentation, defamation, and invasion of privacy. For instance, Taus alleges that the defendants hired a private investigator to learn her true identity and that Loftus then began contacting family members to gather data about her without her knowledge or consent. Taus alleges that Loftus misrepresented herself to gain the cooperation of her foster mother. Taus claims that Loftus claimed misidentified herself as Dr. Corwin’s colleague and supervisor–someone she trusted. At the same time, Loftus apparently befriended Taus’ birth mother, who had lost custody due to physical and sexual abuse.
False memory syndrome proponents have done the following to try and ensure that only their point of view is in the public view.
1) Harassing debate opponents
2) Misrepresenting the data in the field
3) Controlling the media
Controlling the media
U-Turn on Memory Lane by Mike Stanton – Columbia Journalism Review – July/August 1997
“Rarely has such a strange and little-understood organization had such a profound effect on media coverage of such a controversial matter. The foundation is an aggressive, well-financed p.r. machine adept at manipulating the press, harassing its critics, and mobilizing a diverse army of psychiatrists, outspoken academics, expert defense witnesses, litigious lawyers, Freud bashers, critics of psychotherapy, and devastated parents. With a budget of $750,000 a year from members and outside supporters, the foundation’s reach far exceeds its actual membership of about 3,000.”
“As controversial memory cases arose around the country, FMSF boosters contacted journalists to pitch the false-memory argument, more and more reporters picked up on the issue, and the foundation became an overnight media darling. The story line that had dominated the press since the 1980s — an underreported toll of sexual abuse, including sympathetic stories of adult survivors resurrecting long-lost memories of it — was quickly turned around. The focus shifted to new tearful victims — respectable, elderly parents who could no longer see their children and grandchildren because of bad therapists who implanted memories…:” http://web.archive.org/web/20071216011151/http://backissues.cjrarchives.org/year/97/4/memory.asp
Disinformation and DID: the Politics of Memory
The False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF)
In March of 1992 the False Memory Syndrome Foundation was formed claiming to have discovered a new syndrome. “Syndrome” is a clinical term that requires certain agreed upon signs and symptoms indicative of a disorder. The FMSF definition of “false memory” does not meet these criteria:
Despite the fact that “False Memory Syndrome” remained undefined and had never been the subject of any research, the FMSF focused its early activities on influencing the media and legal system…The definition of “False Memory Syndrome” did not evolve from clinical studies; rather the purported syndrome’s description is based on the accounts of parents claiming to be falsely accused of child sexual abuse, usually by their adult daughters.
Calof, D.L. (1998). Notes from a practice under siege: Harassment, defamation, and intimidation in the name of science, Ethics and Behavior, 8(2) pp. 161-187. Abstract: I have practiced psychotherapy, family therapy, and hypnotherapy for over 25 years without a single board complaint or law suit by a client. For over three years, however, a group of proponents of the false memory syndrome (FMS) hypothesis, including members, officials, and supporters of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, Inc., have waged a multi-modal campaign of harassment and defamation directed against me, my clinical clients, my staff, my family, and others connected to me. I have neither treated these harassers or their families, nor had any professional or personal dealings with any of them; I am not related in any way to the disclosures of memories of sexual abuse in these families. Nonetheless, this group disrupts my professional and personal life and threatens to drive me out of business. In this article, I describe practicing psychotherapy under a state of siege and places the campaign against me in the context of a much broader effort in the FMS movement to denigrate, defame, and harass clinicians, lecturers, writers, and researchers identified with the abuse and trauma treatment communities. http://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/notes-from-a-practice-under-siege/
Whitfield, C. L. (2001). The “false memory” defense: Using disinformation and junk science in and out of court. In Whitfield, C. L., Silberg, J. Fink, P. J. Eds. (2001). Misinformation Concerning Child Sexual Abuse and Adult Survivors New York: Hawthorn Press, Inc. (pp. 53 – 78)
“Attorneys for accused, convicted or found-responsible child molesters tend to use a superficially sophisticated argument, which can be described as the “false memory defense.” This defense is fraught with disinformation, smoke screens, and other untruths that are a distortion of what the available science of the psychology of trauma and memory shows. In this article, this seemingly sophisticated, but actually mostly contrived and often erroneous defense, is described and it is compared in a brief review to what the science says about the effect of trauma on memory.” http://web.archive.org/web/20061210182243/childabuse.georgiacenter.uga.edu/both/whitfield/whitfield2.phtml
False Memory Syndrome
The term False Memory Syndrome was created in 1992 by the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF). It has been called “a pseudoscientific syndrome that was developed to defend against claims of child abuse.” The FMSF 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.
Nearly 1,700 Suspected Child Sex Predators Arrested During Operation “Broken Heart”, Lost-in-the-mall: False memory or false defense?, Sybil and Multiple Personality Disorder: Original Sybil book was an accurate description of Shirley’s life
June 14, 2019 Comments Off on Nearly 1,700 Suspected Child Sex Predators Arrested During Operation “Broken Heart”, Lost-in-the-mall: False memory or false defense?, Sybil and Multiple Personality Disorder: Original Sybil book was an accurate description of Shirley’s life
Nearly 1,700 Suspected Child Sex Predators Arrested During Operation “Broken Heart”
The Department of Justice today announced the arrest of almost 1,700 suspected online child sex offenders during a two-month, nationwide operation conducted by Internet Crimes Against Children task forces. The task forces identified 308 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse, and 357 children who suffered recent, ongoing or historical sexual abuse or were exploited in the production of child pornography.The 61 ICAC task forces, located in all 50 states and comprised of more than 4,500 federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies, led the coordinated operation known as “Broken Heart” during the months of April and May 2019. During the course of the operation, the task forces investigated more than 18,500 complaints of technology-facilitated crimes targeting children and delivered more than 2,150 presentations on internet safety to over 201,000 youth and adults. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/nearly-1700-suspected-child-sex-predators-arrested-during-operation-broken-heart
Lost-in-the-mall: False memory or false defense?
Ruth A. Blizard & Morgan Shaw
Published online: 26 Apr 2019
False Memory Syndrome (FMS) and Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) were developed as defenses for parents accused of child abuse as part of a larger movement to undermine prosecution of child abuse. The lost-in-the-mall study by Dr. Elizabeth Loftus concludes that an entire false memory can be implanted by suggestion. It has since been used to discredit abuse survivors’ testimony by inferring that false memories for childhood abuse can be implanted by psychotherapists. Examination of the research methods and findings of the study shows that no full false memories were actually formed. Similarly, PAS, coined by Richard Gardner, is frequently used in custody cases to discredit children’s testimony by alleging that the protective parent coached them to have false memories of abuse. There is no scientific research demonstrating the existence of PAS, and, in fact, studies on the suggestibility of children show that they cannot easily be persuaded to provide detailed disclosures of abuse.
Deconstructing the lost in the mall study
Lynn S. Crook and Linda E. McEwen
Journal of Child Custody
In their frequently-cited “lost in the mall” study from two decades ago, Loftus and Pickrell claimed their findings “reveal that people can be led to believe that entire events happened to them after suggestions to that effect.” The study continues to be cited by the media and by academics to support claims that adults who recover memories of childhood sexual abuse have been led to believe such claims by therapists. The study parallels claims that parents coach children to falsely accuse and thus alienate the other parent in child custody cases. We describe how laws passed by state legislatures led to the need for a new defense for abuse accusations and how a foundation was established to promote that defense. We report that Loftus, who designed the study to support the new defense, testified over 20 years later that the study results apply only to the 24 subjects and cannot be applied to other populations.
Sybil and Multiple Personality Disorder
The original Sybil book was an accurate description of Shirley’s life.
Review of “Sybil in her own words”
Permission was given to post this here.
The book “Sybil in her own words” by Patrick Suraci, Ph.D. is for sale at Amazon.com
After reading the book “Sybil in her own words” by Patrick Suraci, Ph.D., I realized the importance of this book. The people in the Sybil story are treated like human beings and they are allowed to speak about their own life stories. What is interesting about this book, is that it is written by a professional who has experience with the scientific knowledge of MPD.
The book shows how Dr. Connie Wilbur’s treatment was successful and that Shirley Mason (Sybil) never had a relapse or return of her MPD symptoms after her treatment with Wilbur. She was able to live a full life, as shown in her interactions and discussions with Patrick Suraci, Ph.D.
In chapter seven, Dr. Suraci goes back to Shirley Mason’s home town to check on her story and validate it. He speaks with three women, Wilma Bode, Betty Christen and Patricia Alcott, who were classmates and playmates with Shirley in her childhood. Wilma and Betty were two of the few children that were able to enter Shirley’s household.
Wilma stated, “We always said that her mother was an old witch.” She describes Shirley as having troubles concentrating in school and not knowing if she was day dreaming or that her attention was drawn away. Wilma is asked if she believes if Shirley was abused. Wilma states that she believes that some of what is written in the book did happen.
Betty talks about Shirley’s mother. She states that her mother never came over to visit, but would come over and look (or peek) in the windows when they had company. She said that “Ms. Mason relieved herself in a neighbor’s yard.”
Patricia describes Shirley’s mother as “strange, stern, raucous” and “someone to stay away from.” She states that Shirley’s mother (Mattie) “had a shrill voice and ridiculed Shirley.” Shirley’s mother repeated things over and over again. Patricia stated Mattie “played the piano too loudly, bombastically, venting anger. She was harsh.” She said that Shirley’s father (Wilbur) “stood in shaded corners with his head down.”
Patrick Suraci describes the mechanism of “splitting” that contributed to the development of Shirley’s personalities. Shirley came to view Mattie sometimes as the “good mother” and sometimes as the “bad mother.”
In his chapter on Shirley in New York, Patrick Suraci speaks with Jim and Naomi, Shirley’s closest living relatives. Jim had noticed that on the phone Shirley “was a different personality, a different person.” Naomi agreed and described a strong change in personality also. Naomi in Chapter Nine tells Patrick that Shirley and Dr. Wilbur confirmed that the book Sybil “was 100% accurate.”
The pictures in the book are excellent. Under one of the pictures drawn by Shirley’s alter Peggy of a Christmas tree (in black and white), the note describes that Christmas was unpleasant for Shirley because she would receive a lot of games and toys which her mother would put away and not let her play with. Shirley was told she could play with them another time. Yet her mother would give them away to a poor family that didn’t have anything.
Patrick Suraci states in his chapter Controversy Over Sybil that Mason, Schreiber and Wilbur were offered money, television and media interviews to reveal Shirley’s identity, but did not do this. He discusses the problems with Dr. Herbert Spiegel’s view of the Sybil story, as well as other skeptical of the story.
I highly recommend this book to those interested in the Sybil story. It is very well documented, using actual transcripts of conversations with those in the story and those that knew Shirley, showing that the original Sybil book was an accurate description of Shirley’s life.
Elizabeth Loftus and the Hoffman Report, Jehovah’s Witnesses failed to report 1,000 alleged perpetrators, ‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen
July 28, 2015 Comments Off on Elizabeth Loftus and the Hoffman Report, Jehovah’s Witnesses failed to report 1,000 alleged perpetrators, ‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen
– Elizabeth Loftus and the Hoffman Report
– Jehovah’s Witnesses failed to report 1,000 alleged perpetrators, child sex abuse royal commission hears
– Bill Cosby: 35 Women Accuse the Actor of Assault on New York Magazine Cover
– ‘‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen
– ‘Call Me Lucky’: A Documentary Of Friendship, Childhood Abuse And Survival – Barry Crimmins and Bobcat Goldthwait
Elizabeth Loftus and the Hoffman Report
July 22nd, 2015
The Hoffman Report, an independent investigation into the American Psychological Association’s involvement with government-sponsored torture programs, was released earlier this month. As James Risen reported in the New York Times, the 542-page report concluded that the APA’s ethics office “prioritized the protection of psychologists — even those who might have engaged in unethical behavior — above the protection of the public.” The focus of the report is the involvement of the APA in sanctioning interrogation techniques that included torture. But the Report also contains an important footnote about the lax attitude towards ethics in the APA office long before the post-9/11 era:
The Ethics Office was not insulated from outside influence and the nature of the process allowed for manipulation at times. Koocher told Sidley that Raymond Fowler manipulated the adjudication process when there was a complaint filed against Elizabeth Loftus, a high-profile psychologist who did work on false memories. When Fowler found out there was an ethics complaint pending against Loftus, he reached out to her and told her she should resign her membership before a case could be formally opened against her. He later denied that he had done so and appointed one of his deputies to “investigate” how Loftus had found out about the complaint.
INDEPENDENT REVIEW RELATING TO APA ETHICS GUIDELINES, NATIONAL SECURITY INTERROGATIONS, AND TORTURE, July 2, 2015 (p. 485)
This footnote provides the only explanation that has ever made sense for why Professor Loftus resigned from the APA by fax, shortly after two ethics complaints had been filed against her. The complaints concerned Loftus misrepresenting the facts about two successful recovered-memory lawsuits. Her resignation made the complaints moot under rules that have since been changed to close that loophole….
Loftus testimony in Turner v. Honker, July 10, 1996 (p. 109)
Q: Is it your testimony that prior to your resignation you had no idea from any source that complaints had been filed?
A: I had absolutely no idea
Testimony in Seignious v. Fair, January 22, 1998 (p. 151)
Q: At the time that you resigned, Dr. Loftus, were there two ethics complaints pending against you?
A. There was no ethics investigation going on, but there were rumors two people had filed complaints.
Q. How did you learn about these rumors?
A. I read about it in a newspaper column in February or March of whenever it was, 1996.
Q. And was that the very first time that you learned that there were rumors that people had filed ethics complaints against you?
Testimony in Liano v. Diocese of Phoenix, December 21, 2006 (p. 68)
Q: And I’m trying to understand. With regard to the [complaints], did you resign from that organization, the American Psychological Association, while those complaints were pending?
A. I don’t know. I resigned in January of ’96, but I didn’t know anything about any complaints.
Jehovah’s Witnesses failed to report 1,000 alleged perpetrators, child sex abuse royal commission hears
By Nicole Chettle July 27, 2015
More than 1,000 members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been identified by the church as perpetrators of child sexual abuse since 1950 but not one was reported to police, an inquiry has heard.
The Sydney hearing was told the church adopted a scriptural response to abuse, which it abhorred, and had files relating to 1,006 alleged perpetrators, dating back to 1950.
The process required witnesses to prove abuse took place, and no allegations were ever reported to police.
A 47-year-old woman, known to the inquiry as BCB, said she was sexually assaulted as a teenager by her family friend and church elder, Bill Neill, at Narrogin, south-east of Perth in the 1980s.
The commission heard Neill is now deceased.
BCB described feeling ashamed to give evidence because she still identifies as a Jehovah’s Witness despite suffering a nervous breakdown and depression as a result of the abuse.
“I would like the Jehovah’s Witnesses to take allegations of child abuse more seriously and report them to the police,” she said.
“I also think that those victims that are brave enough to report to elders should be properly supported and protected.
“I found the experience of reporting my abuse to a room full of men, including the man who had abused me, very distressing.”….
Elder admits destroying notes from meeting
A Jehovah’s Witness elder, Max Horley, said he destroyed notes from a meeting about the assault of BCB….
Church practice not to report sexual abuse
Justice McLellan then asked him if he was aware of his obligation to tell the authorities if a serious allegation of sexual assault was reported to him.
“If we have any hesitation we contact the branch for advice on how we should proceed legally and scripturally,” Mr Horley said.
“We don’t report it to the police. I think we encourage them to do that. But we give them the assistance to do that.”….
Bill Cosby: 35 Women Accuse the Actor of Assault on New York Magazine Cover
Jul 27, 2015 By LESLEY MESSER via Good Morning America
Dozens of women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of assault since late last year.
In its new issue, New York magazine photographed 35 of them for a stunning cover story.
“The minute you see something from a bird’s eye view, you start to understand the scope,” explained the magazine’s director of photography, Jody Quon. “Once we organized it and put the women in chronological order based on the year of their alleged assaults, you started to see the only thing they had in common was Bill Cosby, and that’s when we thought, ‘This could be a really powerful photo essay.'”….
Through his attorneys, Cosby, 78, has denied the allegations of sexual assault and rape and has never been charged with a crime. Martin Singer, one of Bill Cosby’s attorneys, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News regarding the magazine cover.
Many of the women in the New York magazine portfolio, including model Beverly Johnson, have said over the past few months that they were drugged by the comedian in decades past. Others, including model Janice Dickinson, also alleged rape….
‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen By Noreen Malone and Portfolio By Amanda Demme July 26, 2015
More has changed in the past few years for women who allege rape than in all the decades since the women’s movement began. Consider the evidence of October 2014, when an audience member at a Hannibal Buress show in Philadelphia uploaded a clip of the comedian talking about Bill Cosby: “He gets on TV, ‘Pull your pants up, black people … I can talk down to you because I had a successful sitcom.’ Yeah, but you rape women, Bill Cosby, so turn the crazy down a couple notches … I guess I want to just at least make it weird for you to watch Cosby Show reruns. Dude’s image, for the most part, it’s fucking public Teflon image. I’ve done this bit onstage and people think I’m making it up … That shit is upsetting.” The bit went viral swiftly, with irreversible, calamitous consequences for Cosby’s reputation.
Perhaps the most shocking thing wasn’t that Buress had called Cosby a rapist; it was that the world had actually heard him. A decade earlier, 14 women had accused Cosby of rape. In 2005, a former basketball star named Andrea Constand, who met Cosby when she was working in the athletic department at Temple University, where he served on the board of trustees, alleged to authorities that he had drugged her to a state of semi-consciousness and then groped and digitally penetrated her. After her allegations were made public, a California lawyer named Tamara Green appeared on the Today show and said that, 30 years earlier, Cosby had drugged and assaulted her as well. Eventually, 12 Jane Does signed up to tell their own stories of being assaulted by Cosby in support of Constand’s case. Several of them eventually made their names public. But they were met, mostly, with skepticism, threats, and attacks on their character….
As Cosby allegedly told some of his victims: No one would believe you. So why speak up? But among younger women, and particularly online, there is a strong sense now that speaking up is the only thing to do, that a woman claiming her own victimhood is more powerful than any other weapon in the fight against rape….
‘Call Me Lucky’: A Documentary Of Friendship, Childhood Abuse And Survival
July 27, 2015 Barry Crimmins mentored Bobcat Goldthwait when they were up-and-coming comics in the ’80s. A film directed by Goldthwait details their relationship — and the sexual abuse Crimmins suffered as a child….
GROSS: This is FRESH AIR, and if you’re just joining us, I have two guests. Bobcat Goldthwait is a comic and a director and has made a new documentary about his good friend Barry Crimmins, who was also a comic who founded two important comedy clubs in Boston. And this documentary is about his contribution to the comedy scene, but it also is about his childhood when he was abused as a child and then later as an adult tried to out child pornographers and did a pretty successful job at getting some of them put behind bars….
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….
April 23, 2011 Comments Off on Elizabeth Loftus – critiques of her research
The accuracy of Elizabeth Loftus’ research and its ethics have been critiqued by several people over the last two decades. Below is a brief synopsis of some of this research.
“Lost in a Shopping Mall” A Breach of Professional Ethics
Lynn S. Crook ETHICS & BEHAVIOR, vol. 9, #1, pp. 39-50
The “lost in a shopping mall” study has been cited to support claims that psychotherapists can implant memories of false autobiographical information of childhood trauma in their patients. The mall study originated in 1991 as 5 pilot experiments involving 3 children and 2 adult participants. The University of Washington Human Subjects Committee granted approval for the mall study on August 10, 1992. The preliminary results with the 5 pilot subjects were announced 4 days later. An analysis of the mall study shows that beyond the external misrepresentations, internal scientific methodological errors cast doubt on the validity of the claims that have been attributed to the mall study within scholarly and legal arenas. The minimal involvement or, in some cases, negative impact of collegial consultation, academic supervision, and peer review throughout the evolution of the mall study are reviewed.
Elizabeth Loftus (from jimhopper.com)
Unfortunately, thus far reporters and journalists have almost completely failed to critically evaluate her claims. Nor have they addressed three crucial facts about her work:
1) Loftus herself conducted and published a study in which nearly one in five women who reported childhood sexual abuse also reported completely forgetting the abuse for some period of time and recovering the memory of it later.
3) Loftus is aware that those who study traumatic memory have for several years, based on a great deal of research and clinical experience, used the construct of dissociation to account for the majority of recovered memories. However, she continues to focus on and attack “repression” and “repressed memories,” which has the effect of confusing and misleading many people.
Consider the Evidence for Elizabeth Loftus’
Scholarship and Accuracy. “Remembering Dangerously” & Hoult v. Hoult: The Myth of Repressed Memory that Elizabeth Loftus Created
by Jennifer Hoult, Esq.
Elizabeth Loftus herself has published studies showing evidence of recovered memory. The 4 January 1996 issue of Accuracy About Abuse notes: Elizabeth Loftus, high profile FMSF advocate, published a paper with colleagues on Remembering and Repressing in 1994. In a study of 105 women outpatients in a substance abuse clinic 54 % reported a history of childhood sexual abuse. 81% remembered all or part of the abuse. 19% reported they forgot the abuse for a period of time and later the memory returned. Women who remembered the abuse their whole lives reported a clearer memory, with a more detailed picture. Women who remembered the abuse their whole lives did not differ from others in terms of the violence of the abuse or whether the violence was incestuous. [Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18 (1994) 67-84.]
Loftus has also discussed “motivated forgetting”, and has presented the documented study of a college professor who became unable to remember a series of traumas, but after some time was able to recover those memories. Loftus remarked “after such an enormously stressful experience, many individuals wish to forget… And often their wish is granted.” (Loftus, 1980/1988, p. 73)” http://web.archive.org/web/20030608221633/http://www.feminista.com/v1n9/false-memory.html
“The hypothesis that false memories can easily be implanted in psychotherapy (Lindsay & Read, 1994; Loftus 1993; Loftus & Ketcham, 1994; Ofshe and Watters, 1993, 1994; Yapko, 1994a) seriously overstates the available data. Since no studies have been conducted on suggested effects in psychotherapy per se, the idea of iatrogenic suggestion of false memories remains an untested hypothesis. (Memory, Trauma Treatment, And the Law Brown, Scheflin and Hammond (D. Corydon) 1998, W. W. Norton 0-393-70254-5)
Memory, Abuse, and Science: Questioning Claims About the False Memory Syndrome Epidemic Pope, K. (1996)
American Psychologist 51: 957. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.51.9.957
Does the trauma specified in the lost-in-the-mall experiment seem comparable to the trauma forming the basis of false memory syndrome? Loftus (1993) described the implanted traumatic event in the shopping-mall experiment as follows: “Chris was convinced by his older brother Jim, that he had been lost in a shopping mall when he was five years old” (p. 532). Does this seem, for example, a reasonable analogy for a five-year-old girl being repeatedly raped by her father? Pezdek (1995; see also Pezdek, Finger, & Hodge, 1996) has suggested that this may not be the case. In attempting to arrive at a more analogous situation-that of a suggested false memory of a rectal enema-her experimental attempts at implantation of a suggestion had a 0% success rate.
What is the impact of the potentially confounding variables in claiming the shopping-mall experiment to be a convincing analogue of therapy (Loftus, 1993; Loftus & Ketcham, 1994)? Is it possible that the findings are an artifact of this particular design, for example, that the older family member claims to have been present when the event occurred and to have witnessed it, a claim the therapist can never make? To date, replications and extensions of this study have tended to use a similar methodology; that is, either the older family member makes the suggestions in his or her role as the experimenter’s confederate, or the experimenter presents the suggestion as being the report of an older family member, thus creating a surrogate confederate.
Has this line of research assumed that verbal reports provided to researchers are the equivalent of actual memories? Spanos (1994) suggested that changes in report in suggestibility research may represent compliance with social demand conditions of the research design rather than actual changes in what is recalled. In what ways were the measures to demonstrate actual changes or creations of memory representations validated and confounding variables (e.g., demand characteristics) excluded? Given that being lost while out shopping is apparently a common childhood experience, how is the determination made that the lost-in-the-mall memory is not substantially correct? What supports the claim that “Chris had remembered a traumatic episode that never occurred” (Garry & Loftus, 1994, p. 83). That is, is there any possibility that Chris’s family had forgotten an actual event of this type?
If the experiment is assumed for heuristic reasons to demonstrate that an older family member can extensively rewrite a younger relative’s memory in regard to a trauma at which the older relative was present, why have false memory syndrome proponents presented this research as applying to the dynamics of therapy (e.g., Loftus, 1993; Loftus & Ketcham, 1994) but not to the dynamics of families, particularly those in which parents or other relatives may be exerting pressure on an adult to retract reports of delayed recall? Is it possible that older family members can rewrite younger relatives’ memories in regard to traumatic events at which they were present? Might this occur in the context of sexual abuse when the repeated suggestion is made by a perpetrator that “nothing happened” and that any subsequent awareness of the abuse constitutes a false memory?
Quotes: Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D.
A Brief History of the False Memory Research of Elizabeth Loftus
“The lost- in- a-shopping-mall study (Loftus and Pickrell, 1995) provided initial scientific support for the claim that child sexual abuse accusations are false memories planted by therapists. However, the mall study researchers faced a problem early on—the participants could tell the difference between the true and false memories.” http://bit.ly/dH9uST
The Alleged Ethical Violations of Elizabeth Loftus in the Case of Jane Doe “In conclusion, I believe Loftus made several ethical breaches during her research and when publishing her study. The right to freedom of speech and academic debate does not allow for the kind of ethical breaches that were made. The violating of Jane Doe’s confidentiality without her written consent around such a sensitive issue appears to have been unnecessary and inappropriate.”