False Memory Syndrome: A False Construct

November 6, 2014 Comments Off on False Memory Syndrome: A False Construct

False Memory Syndrome: A False Construct


The term False Memory Syndrome was created in 1992. 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. http://childabusewiki.org/index.php?title=False_Memory_Syndrome

Dallam, S. J. (2002). Crisis or Creation: A systematic examination of false memory claims. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse,9 (3/4), 9-36. “A review of the relevant literature demonstrates that the existence of such a syndrome lacks general acceptance in the mental health field, and that the construct is based on a series of faulty assumptions, many of which have been scientifically disproven. There is a similar lack of empirical validation for claims of a “false memory” epidemic.” http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/1/res/dallam/6.html

Memory, Abuse, and Science: Questioning Claims about the False Memory Syndrome Epidemic
Kenneth S. Pope http://www.kspope.com/memory/memory.php

False Memory Syndrome Facts Website http://fmsf.com/media.html

Memory & FMS https://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/

Recovered Memory Data https://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/recovered-memory-data/

Hall, J., Kondora, L. (2005) “True” and “False” Child Sexual Abuse Memories and Casey’s Phenomenological View of Remembering American Behavioral Scientist, 48, 10 p. 1339-1359 DOI: 10.1177/0002764205277012 “The notion of false accusation is often raised in cases where physical evidence is not available and a period of time has passed or when there has been a delay in recall of the events by a survivor of child sexual abuse. This is not to imply that false memories are not possible. This article outlines how rare they must be, however, based on historical factors and a phenomenological analysis of memory itself….Most scientists investigating traumatic memory doubt that memories of abuse could be planted.”

“The hypothesis that false memories can easily be implanted in psychotherapy…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.  Brown, Scheflin and Hammond (1998).” Memory, Trauma Treatment, And the Law” (W. W. Norton) ISBN 0-393-70254-5

False Memory Syndrome : A False Construct by Juliette Cutler Page “The concept of “recovered memory”, that is, memory of a traumatic event that had been forgotten for some period of time, has been variously explained by such mechanisms as repression, amnesia, and dissociation. However, there are over 100 years of reports and descriptions of recovered memory in the literature, including instances from times of war, torture, bereavement, natural disasters, and concentration camp imprisonment. (HOROWITZ) Many corroborated cases have been documented in instances of recovered memory of sexual abuse…”

Legal Information

Ground Lost: The False Memory/Recovered Memory Therapy Debate, by Alan Scheflin, Psychiatric Times 11/99, Vol. XVI Issue 11, “The appearance in the DSM-IV indicates that the concept of repressed memory is generally accepted in the relevant scientific community. This satisfies courts following the Frye v United States, 293 F.1013 (1923) or Daubert v Merrell Dow Pharmaceutical, 113 S. Ct. 2786 (1993) rules regarding the admissibility of scientific testimony into evidence in court.” And “Although the science is limited on this issue, the only three relevant studies conclude that repressed memories are no more and no less accurate than continuous memories (Dalenberg, 1996; Widom and Morris, 1997; Williams, 1995). Thus, courts and therapists should consider repressed memories no differently than they consider ordinary memories.” At http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/p991137.html

The “False Memory” Defense: Using Disinformation and Junk Science in and out of Court
Charles L. Whitfield, M.D., F.A.S.A.M. “This article describes a seemingly sophisticated, but mostly contrived and often erroneous “false memory” defense, and compares it in a brief review to what the science says about the effect of trauma on memory. Child sexual abuse is widespread and dissociative/traumatic amnesia for it is common.” http://web.archive.org/web/20070914163211/http://childabuse.georgiacenter.uga.edu/both/whitfield/whitfield1.phtml

Commonwealth vs. Paul Shanley.
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, decided Jan. 15, 2010
The Leadership Council submitted an amicus brief in to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court advising the court on scientific knowledge regarding dissociative memory loss. On February 7, 2005, Paul Shanley was convicted of sexually abusing a child. The abuse occurred between 1983 and 1989 when the victim was attending classes at the church where the defendant served as a Catholic priest. Shanley appealed his conviction saying that it was based on recovered memory. His defense team contended that “…’repressed memory’ is a pernicious, unreliable, junk science notion without scientific verification.”

The LC submitted a brief explaining why this position regarding scientific acceptance of dissociative memory loss is inaccurate, and why the Court’s determination that testimony on dissociative memory loss and recovery is admissible was correct. The Court affirmed the conviction and held that ” the judge’s finding that the lack of scientific testing did not make unreliable the theory that an individual may experience dissociative amnesia was supported in the record, not only by expert testimony but by a wide collection of clinical observations and a survey of academic literature.”

Silencing the Victim: The Politics of Discrediting Child Abuse Survivors
As a victim of child abuse who proved my claims in a landmark civil suit, there have been many attempts to silence and discredit me. This article provides an overview of my court case and its effects.
DOI: 10.1207/s15327019eb0802_3  Jennifer Hoult  pages 125-140

Ralph Underwager….Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Anna Salter, Et Al., Defendants-Appellees., 22 F.3d 730 (7th Cir. 1994) http://vlex.com/vid/36092881

Media and Information

Originally published in Moving Forward, Volume 3, No. 3, pp 1, 12-21, 1995. The Highly Misleading Truth and Responsibility in Mental Health Practices Act: The “False Memory” Movement’s Remedy for a Nonexistent Problem by Judith M. Simon “Over the past few years, the “false memory” movement has manifested primarily as a media presence that discounts sexual abuse survivors as first-hand witnesses to their own experiences.” http://web.archive.org/web/20050906011329/http://members.aol.com/conch8/antiTRMP1.html

False memory syndrome proponents tactics – False memory syndrome proponents have done the following to try and ensure that only their point of view is in the public view. Harassing debate opponents, misrepresenting the data in the field and 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.”  http://web.archive.org/web/20071216011151/http://backissues.cjrarchives.org/year/97/4/memory.asp

Confessions of a Whistle-Blower: Lessons Learned Author: Anna C. Salter DOI: 10.1207/s15327019eb0802_2  Ethics & Behavior, Volume 8, Issue 2 June 1998 , pages 115 – 124

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. http://ritualabuse.us/research/memory-fms/notes-from-a-practice-under-siege/

Battle Tactics

Disinformation and DID: the Politics of Memory Brian Moss, MA, MFT

WI lawmakers look to pass “Caylee’s Law”, Trauma and Dissociation in China

August 1, 2011 Comments Off on WI lawmakers look to pass “Caylee’s Law”, Trauma and Dissociation in China

“There is virtually no popular or professional knowledge of dissociative identity disorder in China, and therefore professional and popular contamination cannot exist.”

“Dissociative disorders were diagnosed in 24 respondents by structured interview, and 15 respondents fell into the dissociative taxon on the Dissociative Experiences Scale.”

Trauma and Dissociation in China

Am J Psychiatry 163:1388-1391, August 2006
doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.163.8.1388
2006 American Psychiatric Association

OBJECTIVE: In order to determine whether pathological dissociation occurs in China, the authors conducted a survey among psychiatric inpatients, outpatients, and the general population in Shanghai, China. There is virtually no popular or professional knowledge of dissociative identity disorder in China, and therefore professional and popular contamination cannot exist.

METHOD: Chinese versions of the Dissociative Experiences Scale and the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule were administered to 423 inpatients, 304 outpatients, and 618 factory workers in Shanghai by Chinese psychiatrists working at the Shanghai Mental Health Center.

RESULTS: Dissociative disorders were diagnosed in 24 respondents by structured interview, and 15 respondents fell into the dissociative taxon on the Dissociative Experiences Scale. The outpatients reported the highest rates of childhood physical and/or sexual abuse and of pathological dissociation.

ONCLUSIONS: Pathological dissociation can be detected readily among psychiatric outpatients in China but is much less common in the general population. Pathological dissociation is more frequent in more traumatized subsamples of the Chinese population. The findings are not consistent with the sociocognitive, contamination, or iatrogenic models of dissociative identity disorder.

Trauma and Dissociation in China
Zeping Xiao, M.D., Heqin Yan, Zhen Wang, M.D., Zheng Zou, M.D., Yong Xu, M.D., Jue Chen, M.D., Haiyin Zhang, M.D., Colin A. Ross, M.D., and Benjamin B. Keyes, Ph.D.
Am J Psychiatry 163:1388-1391, August 2006
doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.163.8.1388
2006 American Psychiatric Association

“China is a country in which there is little public or cultural
awareness of dissociative identity disorder or other forms of chronic, complex, pathological dissociation. We are not familiar with any representation of the disorder on television, in film, in novels or plays, or in popular folklore. The trauma model of dissociation is not taught at medical schools in China, and dissociative disorders are very rarely
diagnosed by mental health professionals. China, therefore, is virtually free of cultural or professional contamination concerning dissociative disorders.”

“The results of our study support the epidemiological
prediction of the trauma model of dissociation and are not
consistent with the sociocognitive model. Pathological dissociation was reported by Chinese respondents, despite the lack of contamination, role demands, and iatrogenic suggestion in China.”

“As shown in Table 1, there are hints in the secondary features of dissociative identity disorder that full or partial
forms of dissociative identity disorder could affect more
than 2.3% of the Chinese outpatient sample (the sum of
the frequencies of these two diagnoses on the Dissociative
Disorders Interview Schedule). For instance, 3.6% of the Chinese outpatients said that they have another person
inside of them.

The outpatients reported more childhood trauma than
the other two groups. The outpatients had more dissociative
disorders on the Dissociative Disorders Interview
Schedule, more members of the dissociative taxon on the
Dissociative Experiences Scale, higher average scores on
the Dissociative Experiences Scale, and more secondary
features of dissociative identity disorder on the Dissociative
Disorders Interview Schedule. Thus, the outpatients
were more dissociative than the other two groups on four
different ways of assessing dissociation. The fact that they
also reported more childhood abuse is consistent with the
trauma model of pathological dissociation.”

“China provides an example of a culture largely uncontaminated by popular or professional
knowledge of dissociative identity disorder and therefore
is suitable for testing the epidemiological predictions of
the trauma and sociocognitive models.”

full text at http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/reprint/163/8/1388.pdf

WI lawmakers look to pass “Caylee’s Law”
Jul 31, 2011  By Megan Wiebold

Eau Claire (WQOW) – After the acquittal of Casey Anthony in the death of her daughter, Caylee, many lawmakers clamored to create a law that would punish  parents for failing to alert police when their son or daughter is missing. Wisconsin is just one of nearly two dozen states that are looking into creating a measure that would be called “Caylee’s Law”.

2-year-old Caylee Anthony had been missing for 31 days before police knew about her disappearance. Wisconsin lawmakers say they’ve gotten hundreds of e-mails and phone calls about creating a law to punish parents who do not report their child missing.

….There are currently no laws in Wisconsin that punish parents for failing to report a missing child. Lawmakers say it’s an issue that’s been discussed for years.
….Currently, there are two versions of the law being drafted.


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