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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25973 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2005 :  20:52:33  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
Poll Question:
[This poll was suggested by Kil]

In case you didn't know, there is a controversy over the term "False Memory Syndrome." What I am wondering is how people on this site feel about false memory, traumatic repression and recovered memories, and False Memory Syndrome. As of yet, False Memory Syndrome is not listed as a syndrome in the DSM. Do you think it should be? I am interested in any comments you may have on the subject of false or recovered memories.

I know the responses are very limited. Just choose the one that comes closest to representing your view. You can be more precise about what you think by posting comments in this thread. Whether you do or not, thanks for participating.

Please respond with your position on the following statement:
False Memory Syndrome would be a meaningful diagnosis that accurately explains lost and recovered memories of those who claim UFO abduction, satanic ritual Abuse, childhood sexual abuse and other traumatic events.


Results:
I strongly agree   [14%] 37 votes
I agree   [18%] 45 votes
I somewhat agree   [16%] 40 votes
I don't know   [7%] 19 votes
I somewhat disagree   [4%] 10 votes
I disagree   [9%] 22 votes
I strongly disagree   [25%] 65 votes
I don't care   [7%] 18 votes


Poll Status: Locked  »»   Total Votes: 256 counted  »»   Last Vote: 04/12/2007 23:15:04 

astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2005 :  23:48:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.

[This poll was suggested by Kil]

Please respond with your position on the following statement:
False Memory Syndrome would be a meaningful diagnosis that accurately explains lost and recovered memories of those who claim UFO abduction, satanic ritual Abuse, childhood sexual abuse and other traumatic events.




As to the above statement regarding FMS, I would disagree. However I'm not sure that the above statement accurately describes what FMS is (although I could be misinterpreting).

According to FMS Online "[A] condition in which a person's identity and interpersonal relationships are centered around a memory of traumatic experience which is objectively false but in which the person strongly believes. Note that the syndrome is not characterized by false memories as such. We all have memories that are inaccurate. Rather, the syndrome may be diagnosed when the memory is so deeply ingrained that it orients the individual's entire personality and lifestyle, in turn disrupting all sorts of other adaptive behavior. The analogy to personality disorder is intentional. False Memory Syndrome is especially destructive because the person assiduously avoids confrontation with any evidence that might challenge the memory. Thus it takes on a life of its own, encapsulated and resistant to correction. The person may become so focused on memory that he or she may be effectively distracted from coping with the real problems in his or her life."

So, are there individuals who have been fed false memories by a psychotherapist and now their lives (and the lives of those close to them) are royally F%$## up because of it? I think that this has occurred.

Now, could a person suffer from FMS without having any recollection whatsoever; whether it is false or true? I would say NO. I don't believe people suffer from something that they cannot remember.

Do people have repressed memories at all? I'm not sure, but I'm leaning against it. I think if something traumatic happens to you, you will remember it. Again, I might be wrong but that's my perception and I have seen studies that corroborate that hypothesis. See: repressed memory Also SeeThe Reality of Repressed Memories Elizabeth F. Loftus. People may choose to not think about something traumatic that happened to them, but that memory is still there. Now some traumatic events may cause memories to never be stored. But obviously you cannot "suffer" from a memory that was never stored in the first place.

To sum up my take:

Do people have false memories - Yes
Do people have repressed memories that affect their lives - I don't think so.
Do some people suffer from FMS - depends on the definition.
Without corroboration a memory should not be worth jack squat in a court of law.



*Edited for typos

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
Edited by - astropin on 01/17/2005 09:34:16
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2005 :  08:13:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
Do I believe that false memmories have been implanted into people by unethical psychotherapists? Yes.
Do I believe that actual memmories have been repressed and taint the individuals world view? Yes. I believe it is possible.

Weight this should be given in a court of law.... Whats less than jack squat?

Is it a syndrome? Based on the definition, I'd have to say no. An occurrence which affects each person differently, but no common symptomology. Kil challenged me to really think about this Wednesday night. I have to agree that it does not rise to a syndrome level.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
Edited by - Valiant Dancer on 01/17/2005 08:14:24
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2005 :  09:27:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message
Ok, I'm going to go hard line on repressed memories. (For debating purposes)

Repressed Memories do not exist. Now prove me wrong. I don't think you can because I can always argue that:

A) It's a False Memory

or

B) The Claimant is Lying.

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
Edited by - astropin on 01/17/2005 12:20:14
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Wendy
SFN Regular

USA
614 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2005 :  12:01:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Wendy a Yahoo! Message Send Wendy a Private Message
My brothers and I were discussing this issue just this past weekend. We were at a family gathering swapping "Remember when..." stories. It seems we all had a different version of incidents that happened to us all as a group. We were each convinced our own version was the accurate one, and called upon our mother to moderate. Not surprisingly, she contributed yet another version of each incident.

I used to work for an attorney who was an incredible liar. I believe (as do many of my former co-workers) that the reason he is so good is that he convinces himself he is telling the truth.

Memory is a slippery thing. I have no professional qualifications in this area, but as a legal assistant I find the whole idea of repressed memory troublesome, to say the least. I agree with astropin and Valiant Dancer that without corroboration memory should be worthless in Court.

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon.
-- Susan Ertz
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2005 :  12:32:59   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by astropin

Ok, I'm going to go hard line on repressed memories. (For debating purposes)

Repressed Memories do not exist. Now prove me wrong. I don't think you can because I can always argue that:

A) It's a False Memory

or

B) The Claimant is Lying.




While I don't yet have a forumlated opinion on FMS or repressed memories, I think saying, "Prove me wrong" is wrong (burden is on you). The fact that you make your claim appear not falsifiable only makes me more skeptical about it.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2005 :  12:41:57   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by astropin

Ok, I'm going to go hard line on repressed memories. (For debating purposes)

Repressed Memories do not exist. Now prove me wrong. I don't think you can because I can always argue that:

A) It's a False Memory

or

B) The Claimant is Lying.




I think you've struck on the major problem. While Freud suggested that suppression of memmory does play a part in our psychological makeup, he could not fully articulate how to break through that repression or detect it.

Psychology is basically a group grope and we do not fully understand it. We can trend some aspects to predict what some humans might do, but it is by no means foolproof. Repressed memmories is one of those subsections of psychology which is tenuous.

In this case, however, you have attempted to assert an absolute negative, and it cannot stand as you cannot prove it. Likewise, all I could do is present anectdotal evidence which you could then apply your two assertations. In addition, since you are the hypothetical claimant, the burden of proof is on you.




Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2005 :  14:05:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message
The point I was trying to make is that the existence of repressed memories can not be currently proven. Maybe, someday, we will have brain scanning technology that can indeed prove the existence of repressed memories, but we do not today. I realize my "hard-line" tactics make me look like the claimant, but I consider all of the people who support repressed memories to be the claimants. Freud and all his followers are the ones with the burden of proof. Proof that will not be forthcoming due to arguments A&B. I have no burden to prove that repressed memories do not exist....sheeesh!

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2005 :  15:36:03   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
quote:
I have no burden to prove that repressed memories do not exist....sheeesh!


If you claim that repressed memories do not exist, then yes, you have the burden. If you simply dismiss repressed memories, then no, you have no burden. But dismissing something on lack of evidence is much different then saying it doesn't exist.

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2005 :  18:37:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message
Ok, I have to admit that I can not PROVE the non-existence of repressed memories. But I can also see no logical way around arguments A&B. Therefore repressed memories can neither be proved nor disproved. So what are we left with?







edited because I lost my brain

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
Edited by - astropin on 01/17/2005 22:38:08
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dv82matt
SFN Regular

760 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2005 :  20:49:32   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send dv82matt a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by astropin

Ok, I'm going to go hard line on repressed memories. (For debating purposes)

Repressed Memories do not exist. Now prove me wrong. I don't think you can because I can always argue that:

A) It's a False Memory

or

B) The Claimant is Lying.

I'm not sure that the second arguement is fair. Unless you have some evidence against the claimant's character, it seems reasonable to assume that they are telling the truth as they know it.
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2005 :  23:17:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message
Again, my point being you have no way of knowing the truth. We are not talking about remembering every day events here. We are referring to traumatic (life changing) events. I think that "most" of the reported cases of recovered memories are actually false memories, and the rest are simply people coming forward with information they had kept to themselves. They claim it to be a recovered repressed memory in order to avoid explaining why they have kept this information to themselves for so long (again, this applies only to VERIFIABLE stories).

Memories are extremely delicate things. Odds are that most if not all of you childhood memories are now partial fabrications. You may still have the jist of the story, but over the years your mind has altered, added and removed many of the details. The thought of this may seem scary to most, but I have come to accept it.

A good book on this is: The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers


I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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Ricky
SFN Die Hard

USA
4907 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2005 :  12:51:29   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Ricky an AOL message Send Ricky a Private Message
Repressed memories can be explained like you said, by false memories and people just coming out with something that they have kept hidden. However, false memories (in some cases) and people just coming out with something they have kept hidden (when the patient claims it to be a repressed memory) can be explained by repressed memories.

Each can explain the other, and from what I have seen so far (which is very, very little), there is equal evidence for both.

Is there evidence for one over the other?

Why continue? Because we must. Because we have the call. Because it is nobler to fight for rationality without winning than to give up in the face of continued defeats. Because whatever true progress humanity makes is through the rationality of the occasional individual and because any one individual we may win for the cause may do more for humanity than a hundred thousand who hug their superstitions to their breast.
- Isaac Asimov
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Valiant Dancer
Forum Goalie

USA
4826 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2005 :  13:05:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Valiant Dancer's Homepage Send Valiant Dancer a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Ricky

Repressed memories can be explained like you said, by false memories and people just coming out with something that they have kept hidden. However, false memories (in some cases) and people just coming out with something they have kept hidden (when the patient claims it to be a repressed memory) can be explained by repressed memories.

Each can explain the other, and from what I have seen so far (which is very, very little), there is equal evidence for both.

Is there evidence for one over the other?



I don't think there is. Which is why it shouldn't be allowable in a court of law.

Cthulhu/Asmodeus when you're tired of voting for the lesser of two evils

Brother Cutlass of Reasoned Discussion
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astropin
SFN Regular

USA
970 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2005 :  11:21:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send astropin a Private Message
quote:
i]Originally posted by Ricky[/i]

Each can explain the other, and from what I have seen so far (which is very, very little), there is equal evidence for both.


Is there really?

quote:

Is there evidence for one over the other?



It appears that applying Occam's Razor would be appropriate here. Removing the unnecessary "repressed memory" hypothesis.

I would rather face a cold reality than delude myself with comforting fantasies.

You are free to believe what you want to believe and I am free to ridicule you for it.

Atheism:
The result of an unbiased and rational search for the truth.

Infinitus est numerus stultorum
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filthy
SFN Die Hard

USA
14408 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2005 :  12:18:06   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send filthy a Private Message
I personally know of some people who have false memories of incidents because I was there at the time. And I have read of people who have willed themselves to forget certain things, and have; completly.

So, in all honesty, I must admit that I don't know. But I suspect that it's one of the prices we pay for sapience and a complicated mind with a thought process to match.

But how does one differentiate between this and outright lying?


"What luck for rulers that men do not think." -- Adolf Hitler (1889 - 1945)

"If only we could impeach on the basis of criminal stupidity, 90% of the Rethuglicans and half of the Democrats would be thrown out of office." ~~ P.Z. Myres


"The default position of human nature is to punch the other guy in the face and take his stuff." ~~ Dude

Brother Boot Knife of Warm Humanitarianism,

and Crypto-Communist!

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