Category: False Memory Syndrome

Memories fail, and innocents can go to jail

Elizabeth Loftus has studied the minds of scores of people, and learned that things aren’t always as they appear. Especially memories. The California college professor has spent a quarter-century studying how easily memories can be planted and molded. “It’s something that happens to us all the time,” Loftus said. “Little false memories don’t matter that much, but when it implicates a person in a crime, it becomes a problem. One of the major reasons people get convicted of crimes they didn’t do is faulty memory.” The renowned expert in memory and eyewitness testimony will be speaking at UAB next week,

Renowned Memory Expert Named UAB Ireland Visiting Scholar

BIRMINGHAM, AL — University of California-Irvine psychologist and renowned expert in memory and eyewitness testimony, Professor Elizabeth F. Loftus, Ph.D., will receive the 2006 Ireland Distinguished Visiting Scholar Prize from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Loftus will present a lecture, “Illusions of Memory,” at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, at the Alys Stephens Center’s Jemison Concert Hall, 1200 10th Avenue South. The lecture is free and open to the public. Loftus studies memory and how a person’s memory can be changed by what they are told. She has been an expert witness and consultant on a number of

New Book Explores the Field of False-Memory Research

Children and adolescents — even adults for that matter — may report with all sincerity that they had been sexually abused in the past or witnessed a murder or other crimes. But sometimes the person, though earnest, is wrong: The memory is a false one. Having false memories — “recalling” events that did not happen — is a real phenomenon that is vitally important to law and medicine. Since it has only been readily recognized since the early 1990s, the science of false memory is a complex and burgeoning field. A new book, “The Science of False Memory” (Oxford University

Trances, satanic abuse–now a trial

Lititz woman says she was harmed by her psychiatrist’s techniques in bizarre malpractice case here. LANCASTER COUNTY, PA – It’s a scene straight out of the film “Rosemary’s Baby”: men in beast masks, candles flickering in dark cellars, chalices filled with blood and urine, rape by the devil and killing Satan’s baby by plunging a knife into its body. For 10 years, this was the life a Lititz woman thought she was living, while being counseled by a psychiatrist who put her in a trance so she could recover memories of the satanic abuse in the varying guises of her

Ferguson defense taps memory researcher

When Ryan Ferguson’s defense attorneys go to court next week, they hope to clear their client of a first-degree murder charge by showing that human memory is not only unreliable but, in his case, wrong. The defense contends that Ferguson, 20, had nothing to do with the slaying four years ago of Tribune Sports Editor Kent Heitholt. They hope to prove that the prosecution’s star witness, Charles Erickson, 21, is relying on false recollections that he and Ferguson bludgeoned and strangled Heitholt in the early morning hours of Nov. 1, 2001. Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Crane has said that

Alien abduction claims explained

Sleep paralysis, false memories involved Many of the people who believe they have been abducted by aliens are bombarding Susan Clancy with hate e-mails and phone calls. The Harvard researcher, who has spent five years listening to the stories of some 50 abductees, has described her (and their) experiences in a new book to be published in October. Clancy, 36, likes most of these people. “They are definitely not crazy,” she says. But they do have “a tendency to fantasize and to hold unusual beliefs and ideas. They believe not only in alien abductions, but also in things like UFOs,

Innocent suspects confess under pressure

People want to end questioning, become convinced of guilt, research finds A new study finds some people under interrogation will confess to crimes they did not commit, either to end the questioning or because they become convinced they did it. An unrelated study last year found it is fairly easy to create false memories in people in a lab setting. Lack of sleep and isolation contribute to false confessions, the scientists say in the new study, announced today. A suspect’s mental status and lack of education play roles. Police are often not qualified to judge truth versus deception, the researchers

Women sue state over false abuse case

A Sydney woman and her mother have successfully sued the state for prosecuting and jailing them over false molestation claims brought by their children. The women, who can only be known as LW and JS, were arrested in 1994 after LW’s three daughters and teenage son told police their parents and grandmother had sexually abused them. Their father, AW, also was arrested and charged. The allegations surfaced in 1993 when one daughter, 18-year-old SW, sought counselling over sexual difficulties with her boyfriend. False Memory Syndrome “Recovered Memory Therapy” is considered by many to be a misnomer, as the “recovered memories”

Controversy still surrounds repressed memory therapy

This is a transcript from PM. The program is broadcast around Australia at 5:10pm on Radio National and 6:10pm on ABC Local Radio. PETER CAVE: It’s more than a decade since the emergence of a new kind of therapy which called on patients to look deep into themselves and recover their memories. Sadly the technique has been largely discredited as an accurate form of evidence, but it’s still being used in countless child abuse cases both here and overseas. False Memory Syndrome “Recovered Memory Therapy” is considered by many to be a misnomer, as the “recovered memories” usually turn out

Memory, Pain and the Truth

A leading psychologist long skeptical about ‘repressed’ recollections challenged a much-cited sex abuse claim. Scorn and litigation ensued. SAN FRANCISCO — Psychologist Elizabeth F. Loftus was instantly suspicious when she read about a 17-year-old called “Jane Doe” who purportedly had recovered a memory of her mother sexually molesting her as a child. The claim, published by two psychiatry professors in a professional journal, was being hailed as proof of “repressed memory,” a theory that says the mind avoids intense pain by sealing off recollection of traumatic events. Under the theory, the victim may recover the memory accurately years later, usually