Memory & Abuse:

The Recovered Memory Controversy

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Index of articles, books & abstracts:

Pseudoscience, Cross-examination, and Scientific Evidence in the Recovered Memory Controversy [Psychology, Public Policy, and Law]

This article draws on Daubert and other sources in a discussion of 6 basic sets of cross-examination questions to assess the material in this area and to expose pseudoscience; the cross-examination questions focus on (1) research basis, (2) unclear terms and deductive fallacies, (3) inferential errors and confirmation bias, (4) links in the chain of reasoning, (5) ad hominem fallacies, and (6) original sources.

Memory, Abuse, and Science: Questioning Claims about the False Memory Syndrome Epidemic--Award address for the American Psychological Association's Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Service. [American Psychologist]

This award address for the APA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Service discusses: (a) the scientific responsibility to evaluate new claims, no matter how popular or authoritative, (b) specific questions to evaluate claims about a false memory syndrome, about the ease with which extensive autobiographical memories can be implanted, and about therapists behaviors claimed to be causally related to false memory syndrome; (c) questionable methods used to promote these claims; and (d) implications for clinical standards and malpractice.

Science As Careful Questioning: Are Claims of a False Memory Syndrome Epidemic Based on Empirical Evidence? [American Psychologist]

This article examines the evidence and other forms of support for widely-accepted beliefs in the recovered memory controversy.

What Psychologists Better Know About Recovered Memories: Research, Lawsuits, and the Pivotal Experiment [Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice]

This article (a) examines the assertion that a study by Lindsay and Poole proves that there are "over 1 million cases of 'recovered memories' each year"; (b) looks at the use of the ad hominem fallacy in this area; (c) notes legal actions undertaken by 2 members of the FMSF Advisory Board that not only raised the issue of a conspiracy directed against them but also accused the American Psychological Association of engaging in racketeering activity (d) examines Wakefield and Underwager's defamation suit against a prominent psychologist and the resulting judge's opinion about litigating science; and (e) reviews some high-profile cases involving Paul McHugh and others that illustrate the complex issues in this area.

The Facade of Scientific Documentation: A Case Study of Richard Ofshe's Analysis of the Paul Ingram Case [Psychology, Public Policy & Law]

Examining the original source documents, the authors discuss the errors of fact, methodological flaws, and confounding factors in Ofshe's rendering of this case of alleged child abuse. They also cite examples of the extent to which Ofshe's imperfect narrative of this case and pseudoscientific conclusions have been uncritically accepted and repeated in the literature, thus becoming an academic version of an urban legend.

The Therapeutic Relationship As The Foundation for Treatment with Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse [Psychotherapy]

This article includes the following sections: Growing Understanding of Sexual Abuse; Special Treatment Considerations; Use of Denial & Dissociation; Lack of Disclosure and Memory Loss; Flashbacks and Regression; The Therapeutic Relationship; Use of Touch; Integrating Affect; Integrating Traumatic Memories; Accuracy of Traumatic Memories; Clinical Implications; & Summary.


Recovered Memories of Abuse: Assessment, Therapy, Forensics by Kenneth S. Pope, Ph.D., ABPP & Laura S. Brown, Ph.D., ABPP, Publisher: American Psychological Association.

"Essential reading for lawyers and expert witnesses, this landmark book is scientifically grounded, carefully researched, and--thankfully!-- of great practical use. The consent forms, deposition and cross-examination questions, outlines for reviewing treatment plans, and scrupulously fair examinations of the major controversies are major contributions. Avoiding the polarizing polemics and limited points of view that mar so much of the work in this area, this is the best book on this topic." -- Gary Sampley, Esq. Attorney at Law


Are 25% of Clinicians Using Potentially Risky Therapeutic Practices? A Review of the Logic and Methodology of the Poole, Lindsay et al. Study [Journal of Psychiatry & Law]

This article applies critical thinking and scientific skepticism to examine claims in a study by Poole, Lindsay et al. study; it concludes that lack of operational definitions, flawed survey construction, lack of face validity, misclassification of techniques, and fallacious inferences about causality, such as mistaking correlation for causation, make it impossible to use these data to draw scientific conclusions about the nature and outcomes of clinicians' practices.

Bobby AAA
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