Skeptic Friends Network

Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your Password?
Home | Forums | Active Topics | Active Polls | Register | FAQ | Contact Us  
  Connect: Chat | SFN Messenger | Buddy List | Members
Personalize: Profile | My Page | Forum Bookmarks  
 All Forums
 Our Skeptic Forums
 General Skepticism
 Elizabeth Loftus & False Memory
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  

trishran
Skeptic Friend

USA
196 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2005 :  15:06:03  Show Profile Send trishran a Private Message
I don't know if anybody else is aware of Dr Elizabeth Loftus' recent testimony at the trial of Paul Shanley in Feb 2005. She appeared during the week of Feb 7th. Unfortunately, I didn't see her actual testimony, but I saw commentary about it the day after. A defense attorney was being interviewed on Court TV[sorry I can't remember his name, but he wasn't Shanley's atty, just a guest of Court TV]. The atty/guest noted that during questioning by the prosecution, Dr. Loftus had to admit that while it is possible to implant false memories, as in the experiments she has done & published, it is very difficult to do.

I think this information makes the topic of memories even more interesting. First, we know that people's memories cna be innocently false. For example, you look at a clock that you don't know is wrong. Afterwards, you say an event happened at 10 am, that really happened at 11:30 am. Next, a person may think they remember something firsthand, but it turns out to be a "family memory" that the person has heard so often that it remembers like a firsthand memory.

I think it is possible that false memories have been implanted in people outside of experiments such as Dr. Loftus'. But it seems that this is not an easy thing to do, and probably requires the person who has developed the false memory be strongly influenced by more than one person, working over an extended period of time. So, for example, the McMartin accusers may have ended up sincerely believing they remembered things at the end of the ordeal that they did not remember at the beginning.

On the other hand, a person who has not been interacting with people who want that person to have a particular memory, but instead spontaneously reports past events, is far more likely to accurately report the incident as it appeared to rememberer at the time it happened.

I find this idea of Loftus intriguing: That memories can be altered every time they are remembered, and that the mood of the person at the time of the remembering can color the report of the memory. I think this probably goes a long way to explaining both confabulation, and the fact that the confabulator doesn't notice the story changing over time. So, for example it is well known that converts to a new religion [I'm using American christians in this example because I don't know enough about conversion to non-christina faiths]. The person will witness about experiences before and after conversion, making the before sound as bad as possible and the after as wonderful as possible. But, if you had talked to the person prior to conversion, the events might not have been described as being so terrible.
[Moved to the General Skepticism folder - Dave W.]

trish

Dr. Mabuse
Septic Fiend

Sweden
9672 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2005 :  15:30:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Send Dr. Mabuse an ICQ Message Send Dr. Mabuse a Private Message
Hello trishran, and welcome to Skeptic Friends Network!

quote:
Originally quoted from trishran:
So, for example it is well known that converts to a new religion [I'm using American christians in this example because I don't know enough about conversion to non-christina faiths]. The person will witness about experiences before and after conversion, making the before sound as bad as possible and the after as wonderful as possible. But, if you had talked to the person prior to conversion, the events might not have been described as being so terrible.
That pretty much agree with my own observation. Having been there and back again, I have first hand experience. The current state of mind definitely colours the memories of past events.

Dr. Mabuse - "When the going gets tough, the tough get Duct-tape..."
Dr. Mabuse whisper.mp3

"Equivocation is not just a job, for a creationist it's a way of life..." Dr. Mabuse

Support American Troops in Iraq:
Send them unarmed civilians for target practice..
Collateralmurder.
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2005 :  15:45:52   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
quote:
trishran:
The atty/guest noted that during questioning by the prosecution, Dr. Loftus had to admit that while it is possible to implant false memories, as in the experiments she has done & published, it is very difficult to do.

First off, welcome to SFN trishran.

Now about the above quote. Wow! I am now going to have to search for the trial transcripts or a report on this. An admission that planting false memories are difficult, coming from Dr. Loftus, is no small thing.

More on the rest of your post later…

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

Trish
SFN Addict

USA
2102 Posts

Posted - 03/18/2005 :  20:55:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Trish a Private Message
Hey trishran (whaddya know another Trish).

I don't get cable, so I'm interested to see what Kil finds out. Though I don't remember Dr. Loftus say that it was an easy thing to plant false memories, just systemic exposure of a suseptible person to the false memories.

...no one has ever found a 4.5 billion year old stone artifact (at the right geological stratum) with the words "Made by God."
No Sense of Obligation by Matt Young

"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and vile!"
Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines.
LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC
Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943
Go to Top of Page

Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13462 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2005 :  11:34:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message
Okay, I can't confirm that she had to agree that false memories are difficult to plant. That doesn't mean it didn't happen. So far my sources are reports of the trial, and that small fact might not have seemed important to the reporter.

But the prosecution obviously did do their homework. They did note that Dr. Loftus herself has done studies that seem to confirm the existence of repressed memories. A position she argues against in public and as an expert witness. Also, there is the fact that she is not a clinician or an expert in the area of trauma. Her “Lost In A Mall” study did not involve the planting of traumatic memories such as sexual abuse would be.

quote:
The Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence:
Rigorous evaluation of the work of Loftus, who is not a clinical psychologist and has no competence in clinical work, shows that it has little relevance to the phenomenon of delayed trauma recall (see Brown, D., Scheflin, A. W., & Hammond, D. C. [1998]. Memory, Trauma, Treatment, and the Law. New York: Norton.). Further, she often overstates the results of her studies in public discussions. In fact, the famous "mall study" has never been published in a peer reviewed journal and many of subjects were the children of Loftus's research associates, hardly a group immune from potential bias. In fact, Loftus has authored a study in which 19% of the subjects reported this amnesia for trauma. She reluctantly agreed, during her cross-examination in the Shanley trial, that forgetting of trauma does exist ( Loftus, E. F. [1993]. The reality of repressed memories. American Psychologist, 48, 518-537).

Underline mine. I should also add that this is not a group without a bias.
http://www.leadershipcouncil.org/Justice/BLOG-PS/blog-ps.html

If she agreed that forgetting trauma does exist that would be counter to the implied claims of Loftus and the FMSF. So this becomes pretty juicy stuff.

What now seems to be happening is that the Loftus, and the FMSF are in spin mode. Again, I am going to wait for Michelle to go over this stuff and get her input before I comment on that.

http://www.fmsfonline.org/currentnewsletter.html

I still want to see the transcripts of her cross examination.

As for Loftus being a memory expert, she is. Her contributions to the field are significant. Again, more on this later.

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
Go to Top of Page

trishran
Skeptic Friend

USA
196 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2005 :  14:37:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send trishran a Private Message
Hi, Kil, Perhaps you could try to get in touch with someone who was at the trial. It was covered by Court TV reporter Savannah Guthrie, and it seemed that a lot of local Boston media were present. Plus, trial transcripts are a matter of public record, although I understand that it might take months for the transcript to be finished and made available. Ms Guthrie can be reached by email via the Court TV website.

I have to say that I've enjoyed reading Dr Loftus' books, and think some of her findings are very interesting, but the issue of the nature of human memory is far from settled. Probably, we have several memory pathways in the brain, just like it is beginning to seem that there is more than one visual pathway, and more than one pathway between sensory data and emotion [as in Ramashandran]

trish
Go to Top of Page

trishran
Skeptic Friend

USA
196 Posts

Posted - 03/19/2005 :  14:57:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send trishran a Private Message
Oh, yes, I forgot to say thanks for the welcome, folks!

trish
Go to Top of Page
  Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
 New Topic  Topic Locked
 Printer Friendly Bookmark this Topic BookMark Topic
Jump To:

The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


Home | Skeptic Forums | Skeptic Summary | The Kil Report | Creation/Evolution | Rationally Speaking | Skeptillaneous | About Skepticism | Fan Mail | Claims List | Calendar & Events | Skeptic Links | Book Reviews | Gift Shop | SFN on Facebook | Staff | Contact Us

Skeptic Friends Network
© 2008 Skeptic Friends Network Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.11 seconds.
Powered by @tomic Studio
Snitz Forums 2000