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COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS

SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT

   
MIDDLESEX COUNTY No. SJC-10382

____________________________________

COMMONWEALTH

Appellee

v.

PAUL R. SHANLEY

Appellant

___________________________________

ON APPEAL FROM

THE MIDDLESEX DIVISION OF

THE SUPERIOR COURT DEPARTMENT

_______________________________

BRIEF OF AMICUS CURIAE

FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME FOUNDATION

   
  __________________________________
  Thomas A Pavlinic, Esquire
  116 Defense Highway, Suite 502
  Annapolis, MD 21401
  410.974.6560
  tompavlinic@aol.com
  Attorney for Amicus Curiae
  False Memory Syndrome Foundation

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE

INTRODUCTION

ARGUMENT

A. DEVELOPMENT OF "REPRESSED" AND RECOVERED MEMORY REPORTS

1. Role of Popular Culture in Belief in Repressed/Recovered Memories

2. Memory Researchers Agree that Memory is Malleable

3. Most Forensic Recovered Repressed Memories Have Arisen in Therapy

4. Evidence of Some Therapists’ Misconceptions about Memory

5. Statements from Mental Health Professional Organizations Urge Caution with Recovered Memories

6. Therapists Have Been Successfully Sued for Implanting False Memories

7. Several Insurance Companies Will Not Insure Therapists Who Use Memory Recovery Techniques to Excavate Memories

B. REPRESSED MEMORIES: A REVIEW OF CURRENT SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING

1. Necessary Criteria for Demonstration of Existence of Repression

2. Types of Evidence That Have Been Presented in Support of Repression

3. General Problems With This Evidence

4. There is No Reliable Internal Test to Determine the Accuracy of a "Recovered Repressed Memory." External Verification Is Required

5. No Set of Behavior or Psychological Symptoms Has Been Reliably Shown as Probative of Recovered Memories of Trauma

6. Recovered Memories are of Unproven Reliability: Lack of Error Rates

CONCLUSION

EXHIBITS

Exhibit 1:   List of FMSF Scientific and Professional Advisory Board Members

Exhibit 2:   Examples of Excerpts Urging Caution from Statements of Professional Organizations

Exhibit 3: Studies of Psychological Symptoms in Trauma Survivors Reprinted From Pope et al. (2002)

Exhibit 4: Excerpt: The 86-mile-per-Chapter 5 in Pope,Jr., H. (1997). Psychology Astray: Fallacies in Studies of "Repressed Memory" and Childhood Trauma. Boca Raton, Fl: Upton Books. Pages 31-35

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

CASES

Burgus v. Braun, Rush-Presbyterian, Circuit Ct., Cook Co., IL, No. 91L08493/93L14050

Carl v. Keraga, U.S. Federal Ct., Southern Dist., Tex., Case No.H-95-661

Carlson v. Humenansky, Dist. Ct., 2nd Dist., MN, No. CX-93-7260

Cool v. Olson, Circuit Ct., Outagamie Co., Wisc.

Daubert v. Merrell-Dow Pharmaceuticals, U.S. Supreme Court, December 2, 1992. No. 92-102

Doe v Vella, U.S. Dist. Ct. D. Neb., No. 8:04-cv-00269

Doe v. Rush-Presbyterian, Il Circuit. Ct. No. 01 L 343

Fultz v. Carr and Walker, Circuit Ct., Multnomah Co., OR, No. 9506-04080

Gale v. Rush-Presbyterian, Circuit Court Cook County, Ill No. 03 L 12779

Hamanne v. Humenansky, U.S. Dist. Ct., 2nd Dist., MN, No. C4-94-203

New Hampshire v. Bourgelais, No. 02-S-2834, Rockingham, NH Sup. Ct. April 4, 2005

Rutherford v. Strand et al, Circuit Ct., Green Co. MO, No. 1960C2745

Sawyer v. Middlefort, 1999 Wisc. 595 N.W.2d 423

State of New Hampshire v. Hungerford, 697 A.2d 916

State of Rhode Island v. Quattrocchi, 681 A.2d 879 (R.I., 1996)

Taus v. Loftus No. S133805, Supreme Court of California (2005)

TEXTS AND TREATISES

American Medical Association: Report of the Council on Scientific Affairs. (1994). C.S.A. Report 5-A-94. Memories of childhood abuse. Action of the AMA House of Delegates 1994 Annual Meeting

American Psychological Association Working Group on Investigations of Memories of childhood abuse. (1998). Final conclusions of the American Psychological Association working group on investigation of memories of childhood abuse. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 4, 933-940

American Psychiatric Association (1994), The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association

Anderson, M.C. & Green, C. (2001, March 15). Suppressing unwanted memories by executive control. Nature, 410, 366-369

Barden, R. C. (2006). Amicus Curiae Brief of the National Committee of Scientists for Academic Liberty, for Defendants and Appellants, Elizabeth Loftus, et al., Submitted to the Supreme Court of California in Taus vs. Loftus

Bonanno, G.A. (1990). Remembering and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, 27, 175

Brainerd, C.J. and Reyna, V.F. (2005). The Science of False Memory, Oxford Psychology Series # 38. Oxford University Press

Brown, D., Scheflin, A., & Hammond, C. (1998). Memory, Trauma Treatment and the Law. New York: Norton

Brown, D. Scheflin, A., & Whitfield, C. (1999). Recovered memories: The current weight of the evidence in science and in the courts. Journal of Psychiatry & Law, 27, 5-156

Brown, D. (2007, October 29). Affidavit submitted in Doe v Vella, U.S. Dist. Ct. D. Neb., No. 8:04-cv-00269

Bruner, J. (1994). The ‘remembered’ self." In Neisser, U. & R. Fivush (Eds.). The Remembering Self: Construction and Accuracy in the Self Narrative. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 41-54

Campbell, T.W. (1992). Therapeutic relationships and iatrogenic outcomes: The blame-and-change maneuver in psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, 29, 474-480

Caplan, P. (1995). They Say You’re Crazy. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley

Clancy, S. & McNally R. (2005/2006). Who needs repression? Normal memory processes can explain ‘forgetting’ of childhood sexual abuse. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 4(2), 66-73.

Colangelo, J.J. (2007, April 1). Recovered memory debate revisited: Practice implications for mental health counselors. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 29(2), 93-120

Corwin, D.L. & Olafson, E. (1997). Videotaped discovery of a reportedly unrecallable memory of child sexual abuse: Comparison with a childhood interview videotaped 11 years before. Child Maltreatment, 2, 91-112

Dalenberg, C. (1996). Accuracy, timing and circumstances of disclosure in therapy of recovered and continuous memories of abuse. Journal of Psychiatry & Law, 24(2).229-275

Dawes, R.M. (1989). Experience and the validity of clinical judgment: The illusory correlation. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 7, 457-467

Eisen, M.L. & Lynn, S.J. (2001). Dissociation, memory and suggestibility in adults and children. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 15, S49-S73

Faigman, D.L., Kaye, D.H., Saks, M.J. & Sanders, J. (Eds.) Modern Scientific Evidence. St. Paul, MN: West Group

Femina, D, Yeager, C., & Lewis, D.O.(1990). Child abuse: Adolescent records vs. adult recall. Child Abuse & Neglect, 14, 227-231

Francis, A. & First, M.B. (1999). Your Mental Health: A Layman’s Guide to the Psychiatrist’s Bible. New York: Scribner

Frankel, F.H. (1993). Adult reconstruction of childhood events in the multiple personality literature. American Journal of Psychiatry,150(6), 954-958

Geraerts, E., Arnold, M.M., Lindsay, D.S., Merckelbach, H., Jelicic,M. & Hauser, B. (2006). Forgetting of prior remembering in persons reporting recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse. Psychological Science, 17(11). 1102-1108

Geraerts, E., Schooler, J.W., Merckelbach, H., Jelicic, M. Hauser, B.J.A., & Ambadar, Z. (2007). The reality of recovered memories: Corroborating continuous and discontinuous memories of childhood sexual abuse. Psychological Science, 18(7), 564-568

Ghetti, S., Edelstein, R.S., Goodman, G.S., Cordon, I.M., Quas, J.A., Alexander, K.W., Redlich, A.D. & Jones, D.P.J. (2006). What can subjective forgetting tell us about memory for childhood trauma? Memory & Cognition 34(5), 1011-1025

Gleitman, H. (1993). Closing comments. Talk presented at Memory and Reality: Emerging Crisis, Valley Forge, PA, April 18

Goodman, G.S., Ghetti, S., Quas, J.A., Edelstein, R.S., Alexnder, K.W. et al. (2003). A prospective study of memory for child sexual abuse: New findings relevant to the repressed-memory controversy. Psychological Science, 14, 113-118

Grassian, S. & Holtzen, D. (1996). Memory of sexual abuse by a parish priest. Paper presented at Trauma and Memory: An International Research Conference, July 26-28, University of New Hampshire, Durham

Halleck, S., et al. (1992). The use of psychiatric diagnoses in the legal process: Task Force Report of the American Psychiatric Association. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, 20(4), 481-499

Hammar, R.R. (2001, Summer). Creating "false memories" of childhood sexual abuse. Clergy, Church & Law. 88

Holmes, D. (1990). The evidence for repression: An examination of sixty years of research. In J. Singer (ed.), Repression and Dissociation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Horner, T.M., Guyer, M.J. & Kalter, N.N. (1993). The biases of child sexual abuse experts: Believing is seeing. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, 21(3), 281-292

Howe, M.L., Cicchetti, D. & Toth, S.L. (2006). Children’s basic memory processes, stress, and maltreatment. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 759-769

Kendall-Tackett, K.A., Williams, L.M. & Finkelhor, D.(1993). The impact of sexual abuse on children: A review and synthesis of recent empirical studies. Psychological Bulletin, 13. 164-180

Kihlstrom, J.F. (1998). Exhumed memory. In S. J. Lynn & K.M. McConkey (Eds.) Truth in Memory. Guilford Press, 3-31

Kilstrom, J.F. & Hoyt, I.P. (1990). Repression, Dissociation, and Hypnosis. In J.L. Singer (Ed.), Repression and dissociation: Implications for Personality Theory, Psychopathology, and Health. Chicago: University of Chicago Press

Kirk, S.A. & Kutchins, H. (1992). The Selling of the DSM: The Rhetoric of Science in Psychiatry. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter

Kristiansen, C.M., Haslip, S.J. & Kelly, K.D. (1997). Scientific and judicial illusions of objectivity in the recovered memory debate. Feminism & Psychology, 7(1), 39-45

Krystal, H. (1991). "Integration and self-healing in post-traumatic states: A ten-year retrospective." American Imago, 48(1), 93-118.

Lilienfeld, S.O., Lynn, S.J., & Lohr, J.M. (Eds.). (2003). Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology. New York: Guilford

Lindsay, D.S. & Read, J.D. (1995). ‘Memory work’ and recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse: Scientific evidence and public, professional, and personal issues. Psychology. Public Policy, and the Law, 1(4), 846-908

Lindsay, D.S. & Read, J.D. (1994). Psychotherapy and memories of childhood abuse: A cognitive perspective. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 8(4), 281-338

Lipton, A. (1999). Recovered memories in the courts. In Sheila Taub (Editor). Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse: Psychological, Social, and Legal Perspectives on A Contemporary Mental Health Controversy. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, Publisher, Ltd

Loftus, E.F. (1993). The reality of repressed memories. American Psychologist, 48(5), 518-537

Loftus, E.F., Garry, M. & Feldman, J. (1994). Remembering Sexual Abuse: What does it mean when 38 percent Forget? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62(6), 1177-1181

Loftus, E.F. & Guyer, M. (2002a, May/June). Who abused Jane Doe? The hazards of the single case history: Part I. Skeptical Inquirer, 26, 24-32; Loftus, E.F. & Guyer, M. (2002b, July/August). Who abused Jane Doe? The hazards of the single case history: Part II. Skeptical Inquirer,26, 37-40

Loftus, E.F. (2005). Planting misinformation in the human mind: A 30-year investigation of the malleability of memory. Learning & Memory, 12, 361-366

MacMartin, C., & Yarmey, A.D. (1998). Repression, dissociation, and the recovered memory debate: Constructing scientific evidence and expertise. Expert Evidence, 6, 203-226

MacMartin, C. & Yarmey, A.D. (1999). Rhetoric and the Recovered Memory Debate. Canadian Psychology, 40, 343-58

Mai, F.M. (1995). Psychiatrists’ attitudes to multiple personality disorder: A questionnaire study. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 40, 154-157

McGaugh, J.L. (2003). Memory and emotion: The making of lasting memories. New York: Columbia University Press

McHugh, P.R. (2008). Try to Remember: Psychiatry’s Clash Over Meaning, Memory, and Mind. Dana Press

McNally, R.J. (2003). Remembering Trauma. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

McNally, R.J. (2003). Progress and controversy in the study of post-traumatic stress disorder. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 229-252

McNally, R.J. (2005). Debunking myths about trauma and memory. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 50 (13), 817-822

Memon, A. & Young, M. (1997). Desperately seeking evidence: The recovered memory debate. Legal & Criminological Psychology, 2(2), 131-154

Memon, A. & Bull, R. (1995). Psychotherapy and the recovery of memories of childhood sexual abuse: U.S. and British practitioners’ opinions, practices and experiences. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63(3), 426-437

Neisser, U. and N. Hersch (1992), "Phantom flashbulbs: False recollections of hearing the news about the Challenger," in Winograd, E. and Neisser, U. (Eds.), Affect and Accuracy in Recall: Studies of Flashbulb Memories, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 9-31

Pendergrast, M. (1996). Victims of Memory. Hinesburg, VT: Upper Access Books

Pezdek, K. & Banks, W. (Eds.) (1996). The Recovered Memory/False Memory Debate. New York: Academic Press

Piper, A. (1998, May/June). Multiple personality disorder: Witchcraft survives in the Twentieth Century. Skeptical Inquirer,44-50

Piper A., Pope H.G., Borowiecki J.J. (2000), Custer’s last stand: Brown, Scheflin, and Whitfield’s latest attempt to salvage "dissociative amnesia." Journal of Psychiatry and Law, 28(2), 149-214

Polusney, M.A., & Follette, V.M. (1996). Remembering childhood sexual abuse: A national survey of psychologists’ clinical practices, beliefs, and personal experiences. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 27, 41-52

Poole, D.A., Lindsay, D.S., Memon, A. & Bull, R. (1995). Psychotherapy and the recovery of memories of childhood sexual abuse: U.S. and British practitioners’ opinions, practices and experiences. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63(3), 426-437

Pope, H.G. & Hudson, J.I. (1995). Can memories of childhood sexual abuse be repressed? Psychological Medicine, 25,121-126

Pope, H. Jr. (1997). Psychology Astray: Fallacies in Studies of "Repressed Memory" and Childhood Trauma. Boca Raton, FL: Upton Books

Pope, H.G., et al.(1999). Attitudes toward DSM-IV dissociative disorders diagnoses among board- certified American psychiatrists. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156(2), 321-323

Pope, H.G., Oliva, P.S. & Hudson, J.I. (2002). Scientific status of research on repressed memories. In D.L. Faigman, D.H.Kaye, M.J.Saks & J. Sanders (Eds.) Modern Scientific Evidence. St. Paul, MN: West Group

Pope, H.G., Poliakoff, M.B., Parker, M.P. Boynes, M. & Hudson, J.I. (2007). Is dissociative amnesia a culture-bound syndrome? Psychological Medicine, 37, 225-233

Porter, S., Peace, K.A. (2007). The scars of memory: A prospective, longitudinal investigation of the consistency of traumatic and positive emotional memories in adulthood. Psychological Science, 18(5), 435-440

Questions and answers about memories of childhood abuse. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association

Rogers, M. (1993). Survey results of therapist personal background, experience, knowledge base and attitudes. Paper presented at Memory and Reality: Emerging Crisis, FMSF Conference, Vally Forge, PA., April 16-18, 1993

Schacter, D. (2001). The Seven Sins of Memory. New York: Houghton Mifflin

Schacter, D. (Ed.). (1995). Memory distortion: How minds, brains, and societies reconstruct the past. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Schreiber, F.R. (1973). Sybil. New York: Warner Books

Slovenko, R. (1984). Syndrome evidence in establishing a stressor. Journal of Psychiatry and Law, 12, 443-467, p. 447

Slovenko, R. (1995). Psychiatry and Criminal Culpability. New York: Wiley Publishing

Smith, D., & Tomerline, J. (1990). Beating the Radar Rap. Chicago: Bonus Books

Spence, D.P. (1994). Narrative truth and putative child abuse. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 42(4), 289-303

Tillman, J.G., Nash, M.R. & Lerner, P.M. (1994). Does trauma cause dissociative pathology? In S. Lynn and J. Rhue (Eds.), Dissociation: Clinical, Theoretical and Research Perspectives. New York: Guilford Press, 395-414

Thigpen, C.H, & Cleckley, H.M. (1957). Three Faces of Eve. New York: McGraw Hill

Walker, L. E. A., ed. Handbook on Sexual Abuse of Children. Assessment and Treatment Issues. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 1988

Williams, L.M. (1994). Recall of childhood trauma: A prospective study of women’s memories of child sexual abuse. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 62, 1167-1176

Yapko, M. (1994). Suggestibility and repressed memories of abuse: A survey of psychotherapists’ beliefs. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 36, 163-171

Yapko, M.D. (1994). Suggestions of Abuse: True and False Memories of Childhood Sexual Trauma. New York: Simon & Schuster, pp. 160, 168

INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE

The False Memory Syndrome Foundation is a 501(c)(3) institution located at 1955 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA. It is a non-profit group founded in 1992 to promote competent scientific and medical research of False Memory Syndrome [1] and to disseminate the results to the public, professional community, and families that contact the Foundation. [2] The FMS Foundation Scientific and Professional Advisory Board is comprised of prominent researchers and clinicians from the fields of psychiatry, psychology, social work, law and education. [3] Eight of the FMSF Advisors are members of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences or the Institute of Medicine.

Amicus briefs filed by the FMS Foundation have been accepted in the following courts: Alabama Supreme Court, California Supreme Court, California Second Appellate District, Georgia Supreme Court, Illinois Supreme Court, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, New Hampshire Supreme Court, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Rhode Island Supreme Court, Tennessee Supreme Court, Texas Supreme Court, Wisconsin Supreme Court, U.S. District Court 5th Circuit.

INTRODUCTION

The FMS Foundation accepts the facts as reported that repressed and recovered memories are at issue in this case. Amicus is concerned with the question of whether "repressed memory" evidence should be admissible in the Commonwealth.

Despite popular misconceptions, the relevant scientific community does not accept the theory of repressed memories. There is little empirical support for the assumed prevalence of repression or even for the theory of repression itself. [4] The notion that memories can be involuntarily lost to consciousness and later accurately retrieved is, at present, an unproven hypothesis.

Indeed, it is an extraordinary claim that experiencing trauma leads to amnesia, an amnesia that can be lifted years later so that the memory is recovered. For several decades, memory research has shown that memories associated with strong emotion are better recalled. [5] In addition, the "repressed/recovered memory" claim seems counter-intuitive. If our ancestors had amnesia for something as traumatic as a lion attack, they would likely not have survived long.

Arguments about the mental mechanisms that might be responsible for repression are premature, or even irrelevant, until there is agreement in the scientific community that the phenomenon exists. There is, however, a long history of research and scientific data supporting the premise that human memory is highly suggestible and malleable. [6]

The topic of "repressed and recovered memories" remains in bitter dispute. [7] As recently as 2003, Harvard psychology professor Richard McNally described the debate as "the most divisive issue facing psychology today." [8] The lack of general acceptance by the scientific community for the theory of repression, the impossibility of determining the truthfulness of a specific repressed memory allegation without independent objective corroboration, and the fact that there is no accepted method for distinguishing between a memory that may have been unconsciously "repressed" and one that was merely forgotten, present special equitable and evidentiary problems for the courts. Competent and reliable evidence is the foundation of a fair trial.

ARGUMENT

Repressed and recovered memories are not a proven phenomenon. For that reason, there is no general acceptance of repressed and recovered memory in the relevant medical and scientific communities.

A. DEVELOPMENT OF "REPRESSED" AND "RECOVERED" MEMORY REPORTS

Discussions of repressed and recovered memories have frequently been confused by imprecision of concepts and terms. A brief review may be helpful. The table below is adapted from McHugh (2008). [9]

MEMORIES OF ABUSE

(adapted from McHugh)

  Abused Not Abused
Memory 1. Abused and remembers 2. No abuse but has memory
No Memory 3. Abused but no memory 4. No abuse, no memory

It’s obvious that people are either abused or they are not, and that they either remember the abuse or they do not. That accounts for the four cells in the table. In those cells are people who have been abused and who remember it (Cell 1) and people who were not abused and who have no memory of abuse (Cell 4). There are also people who have been abused but who have no memory of it (Cell 3), and people who were not abused but who believe that they were abused (Cell 2). People who believe that they have been abducted and abused by space aliens or in satanic cults are the most striking examples of this last group.

The problem arises when someone "recovers" a memory of being abused. Is the person moving from Cell 3 or Cell 4? Does the person now remember an actual event or does the person have a pseudo-memory or "false memory?"

For many years therapists assumed that "repression" was responsible for a person not remembering past abuse. In therapy, it was not considered important to determine whether a person who recovered a memory was moving from Cell 3 or Cell 4, whether the memory was real or imagined. To scientists and to the legal system, however, that distinction is critical. This difference of perspective has resulted in clinicians and scientists often talking past each other and has confused the legal system and public.

Questions about repression are separate from the fact that people may not remember being abused. Repression is a theory of why someone may not remember her abuse. A major assumption about repression has been that "repressed and recovered" memories did not operate in the same way as ordinary memories. Some states even changed their statutes of limitations for these special, different type of memories. [10] In the early 1990s, soon after the publication of an important article about the lack of evidence for repression [11] , proponents of repressed and recovered memories began to use the term "dissociation" to refer to the same concept. [12] This only added to the confusion caused by the imprecise terminology. There are, however, a set of beliefs that encompass whatever term is used.

Unfounded Beliefs about Repression

No one questions that childhood sexual abuse exists or that society must protect victims of such abuse. The emergence during the 1990s, however, of the practice of "recovered repressed memory" therapy, based on faulty assumptions regarding memory, repression, and suggestibility, created a cultural climate in which false allegations of childhood sexual abuse are made all too frequently. Of grave concern to the FMS Foundation is the possibility that the proliferation of false allegations will discredit legitimate charges of childhood sexual abuse, thereby obscuring the rights of victims whom society is bound to protect.

Inspired partly by the Freudian-based concept of repression (posited as a natural psychological defense mechanism that serves to keep painful and traumatic memories out of awareness) and partly by contemporary metaphors of the mind, a popularized interpretation of memory has emerged. In this commonly held but inaccurate view, memory is seen as a sort of video recorder on which all events are stored. Trauma, it is argued, often causes memories to be "repressed" until a significant event or therapy technique "triggers" their release and the memory is revealed.

1. Role of Popular Culture in Belief in Repressed/Recovered Memories.

Popular culture has significantly propelled the belief in "repressed and recovered memories." The Three Faces of Eve [13] and the book and TV movie Sybil [14] have been especially powerful influences in recent decades. Diagnoses related to "repressed memories" skyrocketed after these books were published. [15] In 2007, Harvard Professor Harrison Pope and colleagues published research that strongly points to the literary/cultural influence on the very notion of repression. [16] Using electronic databases only recently available, they searched for examples of "repression" in the literature prior to 1800. If repression were a physiological phenomenon, there should be references to it in the literature just as there are for other diseases. The authors found no examples or references to repression prior to 1800.

2. Memory Researchers Agree that Memory is Malleable.

Although the video recorder view of repressed and recovered memory is found in the popular media and self-help books, it is not consistent with research findings or with accepted theories of memory function. Memory researchers have described the brain’s capacity to construct and invent reality from the information it processes. [17] This research has shown that memory is a process that is constantly undergoing adjustment and reconstruction; it is malleable. A "memory" actually consists of fragments of the event, subsequent discussions and readings, other peoples’ recollections and suggestions, as well as present beliefs about the past. Memories of life events may be easily altered by outside factors. Prior knowledge can affect an individual’s ability to understand and encode an experience. Memories can be changed by the passage of time, during retelling, or by current knowledge and/or expectations. The mind does not encode every detail of an event, but only a few salient features. "When we look back, we fill in the blanks based on what must have been." [18]

There is no scientific evidence that memories, if they were to be repressed, would operate by a different set of rules so that they could be stored and later recalled in pristine form. Normal memory processes can explain why some people may forget traumatic experiences. In fact, many researchers believe that because of the way "recovered memories" develop, they may be even more susceptible to the influences that affect the reconstruction of the images we interpret as memory.

3. Most Forensic Recovered Repressed Memory Reports Have Arisen in Therapy.

Reports of recovering repressed memories occur most frequently in a specific context. An FMS Foundation Legal Survey has examined nearly 800 civil and criminal lawsuits based on claims of recovered repressed memory that were filed in the United States during the mid 90s. The survey indicates that in at least 90 percent of cases, the "memories" on which the claim is based were "recovered" or elaborated while the complainant was in therapy. [19] It is, therefore, important to examine what is known of the circumstances under which the majority of these memory reports emerge.

4. Evidence of Some Therapists’ Misconceptions About Memory.

All therapists make use of their clients’ memories by seeking to organize, interpret and summarize this information thematically into a narrative with explanatory power. [20] However, surveys [21] of therapists’ understanding and practices have shown a number of widely held misconceptions, which, if communicated to patients, may increase a client’s responsiveness to suggestion, and, in turn, to the development of false memories. Dr. Michael Yapko, a clinical psychologist and author of several books about the therapeutic use of hypnosis, reported a number of alarming misconceptions held by licensed therapists about the nature of human memory, the role therapist attitudes play in the therapeutic process, the safety and efficacy of hypnosis, and clinicians’ understanding of basic professional literature. Dr. Yapko found that approximately one-third of the respondents indicated that they believed that the mind is like a computer, accurately recording events as they occur. Fifty-seven percent of the therapists admitted they do nothing at all to distinguish truth from fiction in their clients’ "memories." More than one-third of respondents agreed that if a patient who believes a memory is to be helped, the therapist must also believe the memory to be true. Seventy-five percent of respondents thought of hypnosis as a tool for facilitating accurate recall whenever memories are otherwise not forthcoming. Forty-one percent of the therapists believed that early memories, even from the first year of life, are accurately stored and retrievable. [22] All of these beliefs have long been considered incorrect.

Factors that may contribute to a clinician’s ill-founded confidence in such misconceptions have been shown to include a failure to maintain familiarity with the literature on the fallibility and suggestibility of memory and a failure to recognize their biased expectations about the nature of their patients’ problems. [23] Some therapists have been unaware that drugs, hypnosis and/or sodium amytal may increase a patient’s responsiveness to suggestion. The American Medical Association [24] summarizes by saying:

Questions have been raised about the veracity of such reported memories, one’s ability to recall such memories, the techniques used to recover these memories, and the role of the therapist in developing the memories...It is well established, for example, that a trusted person such as a therapist can influence an individual’s reports...[and citing Loftus] There have been reports of therapists advising patients that their symptoms are indicative--not merely suggestive--of having been abused, even when the patient denies having been abused...Other research has shown that repeated questioning may lead individuals to report events that in fact never occurred.

If the patient responds to therapist bias or suggestion concerning the source of the patient’s problem, the therapist may, in turn, believe his or her original assumptions to be confirmed. [25] Studies have documented the "illusory correlations" which may develop in response to therapist bias. [26] The investigator or therapist may overlook instances that do not align with expectations and exaggerate those which do. Thus, the strength of the relationship between a supposed indicator of sexual abuse and an as yet unknown traumatic history may appear overly strong.

5. Statements from Mental Health Professional Organizations Urge Caution with Recovered Memories.

Early in the memory debates, the mental health professional organizations issued statements urging caution when dealing with "repressed" memories. [27] For example:

"It is not known how to distinguish, with complete accuracy, memories based on true events from those derived from other sources."
(American Psychiatric Association, Statement on Memories of Sexual Abuse, 1993)

"The AMA considers recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse to be of uncertain authenticity, which should be subject to external verification."
(American Medical Association, Council on Scientific Affairs, Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse, 1994.)

"The available scientific and clinical evidence does not allow accurate, inaccurate, and fabricated memories to be distinguished in the absence of independent corroboration."
(Australian Psychological Society, Guidelines Relating to the Reporting of Recovered Memories, 1994.)

6. Therapists Have Been Successfully Sued for Implanting False Memories.

Faulty assumptions may lead to ill-conceived treatment plans that are injurious to patients. In recent years, there has been an increase in malpractice lawsuits against mental health professionals and clergy brought by former adult patients and third parties alleging injuries due to the creation of false mental images which had been assumed to be recovered repressed memories of actual events. [28]

7. Several Insurance Companies Will Not Insure Therapists Who Use Memory Recovery Techniques to Excavate Memories.

As a consequence of the civil lawsuits against therapists who were found negligent for implanting false memories in patients, several companies that insure therapists have written into their policies that they will not cover practitioners who use hypnosis to excavate memories. [29]

B. REPRESSED MEMORIES: A REVIEW OF CURRENT SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING

No empirical data support the assumed prevalence of repression as a common response to trauma, the mechanism by which repression is posited to operate, or even the concept of repression itself. Indeed, unless repression is actually shown to exist, discussing its prevalence or its possible mental mechanisms is premature or even irrelevant.

Most memory researchers are in agreement on this matter. In an Amicus filed by R. C. Barden, Ph.D., J.D. in the case of Taus v Loftus, [30] more than 65 scientists and clinicians, a "Who’s Who" in the world of psychiatry, psychology and cognitive science, agreed with the inclusion of the following clear statement: [31]

"Decades of research and scientific debate have clarified over and over again, that the notion of traumatic events being somehow "repressed" and later accurately recovered is one of the most pernicious bits of folklore ever to infect psychology and psychiatry. The folklore provided the theoretical basis for "recovered memory therapy" - arguably the worst catastrophe to befall the mental health field since the lobotomy era." (Page 10)

The signers represent the relevant scientific community for theoretical disputes if the issue is a claim of repressed and recovered memory.

Both scientists and the proponents of the belief in repression and recovered memories present studies that they claim support their conflicting positions. In fact, both sides frequently cite the same articles but reach different conclusions about them. This situation prompted Harvard memory researcher Richard McNally to write:

"What is most bizarre about this debate is that proponents on both sides appeal to the same scientific studies to support their diametrically opposed positions. How is this possible? Anyone who actually reads the contested studies, however, will immediately realize that the most influential advocates of the traumatic amnesia position misunderstand much of the science they cite." [32]

This is a very confusing situation for non-scientists. Amicus will explain why the evidence presented by supporters or repressed and recovered memories fails to support their claims.

1. Necessary Criteria to Demonstrate the Existence of Repression.

In order to show that memories of childhood sexual abuse might be repressed and later recovered, Harvard Professors Harrison Pope, M.D. and James Hudson, M.D. set out criteria that are necessary to confirm the hypothesis that repression can occur. [33] There is no conflict about these criteria. All four must be met.

It seems obvious that these criteria are necessary. Yet, most of the studies that are used to support the notion of repression fail to meet them.

"The research on trauma, memory, and dissociation suffers not so much from a dearth of theory or explanatory models, as much as a lack of well-controlled research." [34]
(Eisen & Lynn, S65)

2. Types of Evidence That Have Been Presented in Support of Repression.

The majority of the studies that have been presented to demonstrate repression have been of the following types: (1) retrospective studies that interview people in the present about whether they ever forgot that they were abused in the past; (2) prospective studies in which individuals with a record of abuse are interviewed many years later to see if they remember the abuse; and (3) case histories in which a therapist/researcher writes an account of a patient who has repressed and recovered memories that may or may not have been verified by the therapist. Very recently, some proponents have claimed that there are (4) brain imaging studies that support repression. In some instances, reviews of a collection of studies have been offered to demonstrate that repression and recovery of memory can be scientifically demonstrated. Unfortunately, almost all of the studies suffer serious methodological problems and/or fail to meet the criteria.

3. General Problems With This Evidence.

Retrospective studies generally fail to meet the criteria because they usually lack independent objective evidence to show that abuse actually occurred. They usually lack evidence to show that the individual had continuous amnesia for the event, i.e. was actually unable to remember the event during all of the time before recovering the memory in adulthood. In 2006, Ghetti and colleagues demonstrated just how unreliable retrospective subjective judgments can be. [35] They studied self-reported amnesia in a population of people known through the legal system to have been abused. They found that if child sexual abuse was forgotten in childhood, it was also likely to be remembered in childhood, not in adulthood. They found no evidence of adult recovery of [child sexual abuse] memories and concluded: "The differences between subjective and objective memory underscore the risks of using subjective measures to assess lost memory of abuse." (1011)

There have been few prospective studies. The best known of these is the Linda Williams (1994) [36] study in which individuals known to have been abused were interviewed 17 years later to see what they remembered about the reported event. Although the researcher stated that 38 percent of the individuals did not mention the abuse incident, this is not proof of repression, as was widely claimed when the paper appeared. [37] For example, some of the subjects remembered past abuse, but not the particular incident that the researcher had in mind. Some of the children in the study were too young to have had a memory of the event because of childhood amnesia, a robust psychological phenomenon. The researchers failed to determine whether the individuals really forgot or just did not want to talk about the event. Studies have consistently found that some people often do not want to talk about what a researcher may be asking. [38] In 2003, cognitive psychologist Gail Goodman and colleagues [39] published a study that was similar to the Williams study. They excluded situations in which a child might have been too young at the time of the abuse to be expected to remember, and they included several interviews in order to try to determine if the person really forgot or just did not want to talk about it. They found that only 8 percent did not report abuse. The Goodman study certainly casts doubt on the claim that large numbers of people are unaware of past abuse.

The fact that 8 percent failed to report the abuse does not mean, that these people "repressed" the abuse. Ordinary memory processes could explain why they forgot. It is not unusual to forget childhood sexual abuse, according to Harvard scientists Susan Clancy and Richard McNally. [40] Memories of childhood sexual assault can be forgotten in the same way that ordinary memories can. The notion of "repression" is not needed.

Memory researchers studying children who have experienced traumatic events or who have suffered maltreatment have found that the children remember the experience; and researchers have found no evidence of any special memory mechanisms as a response to the trauma. For example, in 2007 Porter and Peace [41] published a longitudinal investigation that concluded:

"Trauma does seem to create scars on memory, resulting in remarkably vivid and consistent recollections over long periods. As much as people may wish to forget painful experiences, the details remain fully intact in their consciousness." (p.440)

Howe and colleagues [42] looked at many studies of maltreated children and concluded:

"Studies conducted to date give us no reason to believe that a different set of memory development "laws" pertain to those who have been abused and those who have not." (766)

Sadly, most children remember their abuse and they remember it in the same manner as other things that happen to them. They may not wish to talk about what happened, however, when researchers ask.

Case histories suffer from the fact that only the author has access to the evidence. This means that others cannot verify the facts. In the best-known example, psychiatrist David Corwin and colleague Erna Olafson [43] claimed to have documented the recovery of repressed memories in a patient referred to as "Jane Doe." Using public records, memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus and psychologist Melvin Guyer [44] were able to track the identity of Jane Doe and gather additional information. Their conclusions were drastically different from those of the original writers. This example is illustrative of the tremendous caution that is necessary when considering case histories.

As evidence of the existence of repressed and recovered memories, proponents often cite the chart [45] of case studies of people who had experienced severe trauma from the work of psychologist Daniel Brown and colleagues. The original chart reviewed 43 studies that Brown et al. claim related to the question of dissociative amnesia in traumatized populations and claims that the studies showed that a substantial minority partially or completely forgot the traumatic event and later recovered the memories of it. Brown expanded the chart to 68 studies in 1999. [46] What proponents neglect to mention is that in 2001 a scathing critique of these studies was published. [47] The critique presented examples of the misinterpretation of results, misleading statements, and errors in the Brown et al. paper. Indeed, Brown’s work has come under heavy criticism in several courts. [48]

Harvard Professor Harrison Pope and colleagues looked at the same and additional studies as did Brown et al. They performed a non-selective literature search for examples of studies between 1960 and 1999 where the investigators performed psychological assessments on groups of survivors of specific, historically documented traumatic events. [49] The studies assessed victims of all manner of traumatic events and included all of the studies listed in Brown et al. Pope’s strikingly different results showed that none of the more than 11,000 victims in the studies was reported to have repressed the memory of the traumatic event. [50] The few survivors who exhibited some amnesia could be accounted for because of physical reasons such as loss of consciousness. Whereas Brown et al. assumed the term "memory disturbances" to mean amnesia, Pope explains that this should not be interpreted as memory loss of the trauma. Disturbances of memory and concentration are ubiquitous in mood and anxiety disorders, regardless of whether the disorders occur in the wake of trauma. In other words, Brown et al. neglected to look for other reasons to explain why some people may have forgotten a traumatic experience.

Some proponents suggest that brain imaging studies support the existence of and the accuracy of repressed and recovered memories. They cite a 2001 study [51] that asked students to look at pairs of pictures. The students were questioned about the pictures soon afterwards, hardly comparable to "repressing" a memory of a traumatic event and recovering it decades later. Although this research is interesting, it is not relevant to the phenomenon of memory repression as a response to trauma and its later recovery. Until the phenomenon has been shown to exist, it is premature to speculate about the mechanisms of the phenomenon.

Proponents have also argued that imaging studies by Bessel van der Kolk, M.D. show that stress affects specific regions of the brain and thus support the existence of repression. These studies, however, do not show the existence of repression. Dr. Harrison Pope [52] argues that studies involving neurotransmitters in memory, and neuroendocrine and imaging studies of trauma victims, are irrelevant. Writing about various mechanisms in the brain, and speculating how these mechanisms might be responsible for amnesia, is like having a discussion of the Emperor’s tailor before it has been established that the Emperor has any clothes. The studies are irrelevant to the question of whether real people can actually develop amnesia for a real trauma.

Proponents of repressed and recovered memories sometimes argue that the inclusion of "dissociative disorders" in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) provides evidence of the phenomenon of repressed and recovered memories. Consider that even though the early diagnostic manual Malleus Maleficarum, or the Hammer of Witches, spelled out in exquisite detail the kinds of behaviors that characterized the witch and identified the evidence on her body of congress with devils, that did not prove that witches actually existed. Actually, the DSM IV urges caution:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual was not written for use in forensic settings.

"When the DSM-IV categories, criteria, and textual descriptions are employed for forensic purposes, there are significant risks that diagnostic information will be misused or misunderstood. These dangers arise because of the imperfect fit between the questions of ultimate concern to the law and the information contained in a clinical diagnosis."(Page XXIII)

The DSM-IV mentions that there is considerable controversy and that there is no consensus on the issue.

"In recent years in the United States, there has been an increase in reported cases of Dissociative Amnesia that involve previously forgotten early childhood traumas. This increase has been subject to very different interpretations. Some believe that the greater awareness of the diagnosis among mental health professionals has resulted in the identification of cases that were previously undiagnosed. In contrast, others believe that the syndrome has been overdiagnosed in individuals who are highly suggestible."(Page 479)

The DSM-IV notes that tests cannot reliably distinguish dissociative amnesia from malingering (feigning symptoms for external gain).

"There are no tests or set of procedures that invariably distinguish Dissociative Amnesia from Malingering..."(Page 480)

The DSM-IV states that there is a need for external corroboration.

"There is currently no method for establishing with certainty the accuracy of such retrieved memories in the absence of corroborative evidence."(Page 481)

The DSM-IV was published in 1994. Many significant clinical and research articles have since been published.

"New knowledge generated by research or clinical experience will undoubtedly lead to an increased understanding of the disorders included in DSM-IV, to the identification of new disorders, and to the removal of some disorders in future classifications. The text and criteria sets included in the DSM-IV will require reconsideration in light of evolving new information."(Page XXIII)

The DSM-IV was developed by committee, not from scientific evidence.

"It must be noted that DSM-IV reflects a consensus about the classification and diagnosis of mental disorders derived at the time of its initial publication."(Page XXIII)

The DSM-IV will likely continue to include some diagnostic categories based more on current social interests than on scientifically derived and validated principles. [53] The editor of the DSM-IV and the chair of the DSM-IV Task Force have commented: "All in all, ... We would recommend avoiding any treatment that seeks to discover new personalities or to uncover past traumas." [54] (p. 290)

None of the major professional organizations has provided scientific evidence that people routinely repress a memory in response to trauma only to recover it later. Indeed, as we reported in section A, all of these organizations have urged caution when dealing with recovered memories. The fact that therapists and patients "report" examples of forgetting and then remembering child sexual abuse does not mean that the phenomenon of repression exists. Ordinary memory processes can explain forgetting and remembering.

Proponents of repressed and recovered memories sometimes present studies that show that recovered memories and continuous memories of abuse do not differ in corroboration rates. Independent corroboration is necessary to determine that abuse existed, but it is not a determination of whether a memory has been "repressed."

It is not unusual for people to forget all sorts of things, even past abuse, and then to remember them at a later time. It is not justified, however, to make the assumption that a memory that is recalled was unavailable to the person for a long period of time or is the result of repression. For example, Harvard scientists Susan Clancy and Richard McNally have shown that some people may have the subjective experience of recovering a memory when what they are actually experiencing is a reinterpretation of a memory. [55] Young children may experience abuse but, because of their lack of worldly knowledge, do not recognize it as an abusive experience at the time it occurs. In remembering it much later as an adult, they are able to reinterpret the experience and realize it was abuse. Moreover, they may also experience the emotions that come with the idea that wrong was done to them. That is a normal memory experience, and has nothing whatsoever to do with repression.

Geraerts and colleagues have also shown that some individuals who believe they have recovered a repressed memory may actually forget that they had remembered and talked about this memory previously. [56] The subjective experience of a person is not an indication that repression occurred. [57] Normal memory processes explain the experience.

There are numerous examples of cases, such as the victims of Father Porter, [58] that do involve people who may have been abused and who may have had a subjective experience of thinking that they had recovered a memory, but the studies fail to show that the subjects experienced "repression" rather than normal memory process.

A study by Dalenberg [59] is informative of the serious problems with case studies. Dalenberg allegedly [60] studied 17 women who were her patients, some of whom already had continuous memories of past abuse but also recovered some new memories of past abuse while they were in therapy. Their fathers were also interviewed and allegedly helped gather evidence to either support or refute the memories. Six raters evaluated the evidence of all parties. The conclusion was that about 75 percent of both the recovered and continuous memories were judged by the raters as very convincing or reasonably convincing. Since Dalenberg has not made her data available to other researchers, it is impossible to determine the integrity of this study.

A recently published rigorous study directly challenges the results of the Dalenberg study. Elke Geraerts and colleagues [61] studied 57 people who had allegedly recovered memories either in therapy or outside of therapy, and a group of 71 people with continuous memories of abuse. All of the subjects were systematically queried about possible corroborative evidence of the event. Later, two raters who did not know in which group the people belonged rated the evidence. The results showed that continuous memories and memories recovered outside of therapy had a higher probability of being corroborated than those recovered in therapy. The corroboration rates found by Geraerts et al., however, were far lower than those claimed by Dalenberg. For the 16 people in the Geraerts’ study who had recovered memories in therapy, no corroboration could be found, a startling contrast to the Dalenberg work.

4. There is No Reliable Internal Test to Determine the Accuracy of a "Recovered Repressed Memory."
External Verification is Required

There is no reliable method to determine the accuracy of a "recovered repressed" memory by examining its content or characteristics. Clinical psychologist Michael Yapko points out that greater levels of certainty, emotionalism or detail about a memory do not necessarily indicate a greater likelihood of its accuracy. This is the consensus of many of this country’s experts on memory, suggestibility and the treatment of abuse survivors. [62]

Methods seeking to determine a "recovered repressed" memory’s accuracy by examining its content and affect have been shown to be unreliable. Adults can have vivid memories, of which they are extremely confident, that are nevertheless wrong. Once those false memories have been established, they are not easily changed by contrary evidence. [63] A person’s level of confidence and conviction in a memory are not proof of its veracity. Neither the clarity and volume of detail of a memory, nor its relative vagueness, are considered sufficient to judge its truthfulness; nor is the inclusion of false or inconsistent statements considered conclusive proof of its falsity. Such inconsistencies, may, however, raise the problem of distinguishing which parts are true and which parts are false. This problem is particularly acute when the complainant has not critically examined the source of his recollection for possible suggestive influences. To place a finding beyond examination erodes its strength.

Prudent judicial thought must acknowledge that professional organizations, referring to sound empirical studies, conclude that there is no special training which might enable one to determine the accuracy or the measure of reliability of images claimed to have been recovered from years past. If it is agreed that no expert, without external verification, can determine the verity of a repressed memory claim, can a jury of lay persons be expected to reliably decide?

5. No Set of Behavior or Psychological Symptoms has been Reliably Shown as Probative of the Accuracy of "Recovered Memories" of Trauma.

"There is no single set of symptoms which automatically indicates that a person was a victim of childhood abuse. There have been media reports of therapists who state that people (particularly women) with a particular set of problems or symptoms must have been victims of childhood sexual abuse. There is no scientific evidence that supports this conclusion."(American Psychological Association, Questions and Answers about Memories of Childhood Abuse, 1995.)

No set of psychological disorders or behavioral traits, such as depression, multiple personality disorder (MPD), dissociation, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders, low self-esteem, or drug or alcohol abuse, automatically indicates that a person was a victim of childhood sexual abuse. [64] In making this point, Amicus does not wish to minimize the reality of sexual abuse of children or to trivialize the injury that such abuse may cause. There is no single way for human beings to respond to terrifying events. [65]

Repressed memory proponents frequently cite the presence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as an inevitable consequence or even the most prevalent result of childhood sexual abuse. [66] According to the DSM-IV, [67] "a recognizable trauma must exist which would cause distress symptoms in most people" in order for PTSD to be an appropriate diagnosis. Therefore, a PTSD diagnosis is properly made only where independent objective evidence of a recognizable traumatic event exists. To offer a PTSD diagnosis without such evidence, but as proof of the existence of a particular hypothetical event, is an example of faulty circular reasoning.

Despite the adherence of some dissociation theorists to the trauma-dissociation link, legal decision must not overlook the fact that no scientific proof exists to support the proposition that, in response to r/epeated traumatic events, and only after such a history, will an individual develop a particular set of symptoms. To infer otherwise is to make a common logical error of "affirming the consequence" and, in the view of the American Psychiatric Association, 1992 Task Force, [68] is a "misuse of psychiatric expertise." The substantial shortcomings in the quality of scientific evidence available for a fair adjudication of recovered repressed memory claims cannot be overcome by substituting expert opinion testimony regarding sex abuse and its etiology, diagnosis, signs, symptoms and effects.

6. Recovered Repressed Memories are of Unproven Reliability: Lack of Error Rates.

Despite claims of the widespread occurrence of repression of childhood sexual abuse, comprehensive reviews of the literature used to support the theory of repression reveal that, as yet, there is no controlled experimental evidence to support the authenticity of such memories or to confirm their very existence. [69]

The theory of repression assumes that an individual can selectively forget sexual abuse spanning several developmental phases, from infancy into adolescence, so that the overall autobiographical memory system remains otherwise intact. Scientific evidence of such selective forgetting and sudden emergence of verifiable recollection does not yet exist.

In Daubert, [70] the United States Supreme Court required that scientific tests have a "known rate of error" in order to be admissible in expert scientific testimony. An error rate is a way to quantify false negatives and false positives that occur. [71] To be scientific, there must exist the possibility of making a determination of the reliability of both the scientific process and the outcome of the process. [72]

Some of the proponents of repressed and recovered memories don’t seem to understand this fundamental premise in science. For example, Daniel Brown, [73] whose chart was discussed previously, recently contrasted his idiosyncratic approach to science with the standard approach to science of people such as Harvard scientist Harrison Pope. Brown wrote:

"The problem with Pope’s ‘scientifically sound test’ is that it sets up an unreasonable standard of science. A fundamental difference between Pope’s view of dissociative amnesia and my own is that each of us adheres to a different standard of science. Pope’s standard of ‘science’ may best be characterized as the definitive study standard. Pope believes that it is possible to design a single definitive study that could address all four of the previously-mentioned criteria. In my opinion, this is an impossible standard of science that doesn’t exist for any diagnosis in the DSM." (Page 40)

"The alternate standard of science is the accumulation of knowledge, or multimethod, standard. According to the accumulation of knowledge standard, scientific knowledge for a given diagnosis is more likely to attain incremental validity when multiple methods of testing are used to test multiple perspectives on the same phenomenon, with varying samples of subjects across different testing sites, by a variety of researchers (who do not all share the same bias)." (Page 40)

The problem with Brown’s method is that it does not allow for any possible way to compute error - what proportion of the claims is valid and what proportion are erroneous. Perhaps an analogy may make the concept clearer. Many people believe that there are extra-terrestrials. They claim that there is visual evidence in photos, that there is audio evidence, that there are traces left by extraterrestrials in people’s bodies, and that there are examples of people who have recovered memories of extra-terrestrials. Is this convincing evidence that extra-terrestrials exist? Proceeding in this manner provides no way to show that extra-terrestrials do not exist. In other words, there is no known error rate. Perhaps 10 percent are invalid. Perhaps 100 percent are invalid. Are there extra-terrestrials? We cannot say until we have one in evidence.

Do people repress and recover memories as a response to child sexual abuse? Diagnosing "repression" in a patient is not a standardized process. It depends on the report of a patient and the evaluation of the therapist. Both of those can be influenced by the beliefs of the individuals involved, adding to the uncertainty. There is no way to know how many false positive diagnoses there might be under the circumstances (i.e. that there is a diagnosis of "repression" when, in fact, there is no repression). There is no way to show that "repression" does not exist. Are 10 percent of reports invalid? Are 100 percent invalid? We do not know. Therefore, it is necessary to show scientifically that repression and memory recovery in response to trauma does exist if it is to be allowed as evidence in Court. People have been looking for scientific evidence of repression and recovery of memories for the past 70 years, but without success. There is, on the other hand, bountiful solid scientific evidence of human suggestibility and its effect on memory reports.

CONCLUSION

The reality of the sexual abuse of children and the injury such abuse may cause must not be minimized. Accusations of sexual abuse, including those based on claims of "recovered repressed memories," should be taken seriously and carefully investigated. However, both the people who believe that they are victims of child abuse and those who have been accused deserve the full benefit of the court’s understanding of the ongoing debate.

The notion that a person can repress and later recover accurate memories of past abuse is very much in dispute. The current debate is not how the mind represses trauma or how one recalls previously unavailable memories of trauma, but rather it is if the mind can repress memories in response to trauma and later recover accurate memories of the event.

Because there is no scientific support for the theory of repression, so called "repressed" and recovered memories must not be allowed as evidence in our Courts of Law. The statement in the Barden Amicus [74] signed by more than 65 eminent scientists and clinicians who represent the relevant scientific community for making such judgment is clear:

"Decades of research and scientific debate have clarified over and over again, that the notion of traumatic events being somehow "repressed" and later accurately recovered is one of the most pernicious bits of folklore ever to infect psychology and psychiatry. The folklore provided the theoretical basis for "recovered memory therapy" - arguably the worst catastrophe to befall the mental health field since the lobotomy era." (Page 10)

To admit such controversial "evidence" would not only violate the very rules on which the legal system relies but also violate the rights of those who are subjected to our Court system.


SCIENTIFIC AND PROFESSIONAL ADVISORY BOARD
FALSE MEMORY SYNDROME FOUNDATION
January 1, 2009

Aaron T. Beck, M.D., I.O.M.,1,A.A.A.S.2
University Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Terence W. Campbell, Ph.D.
Clinical and Forensic Psychology
Sterling Heights, MI

Rosalind Cartwright, Ph.D.
Director of the Sleep Disorder Clinic
Rush Presbyterian
St. Luke’s Medical Center
Chicago, IL

Jean Chapman, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI

Loren Chapman, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Psychology
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI

Frederick Crews, Ph.D., A.A.A.S.
Professor Emeritus of English
University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

Robyn M. Dawes, Ph.D., A.A.A.S
Professor of Social and Decision Sciences
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA

David Dinges, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry
Director, Unit for Experimental Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Henry C. Ellis, Ph.D.
Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM

Fred Frankel, M.B., Ch.B, D.P.M.
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

George K. Ganaway, M.D.
Atlanta Psychiatric Associates
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry
Emory University of Medicine
Atlanta, GA

Martin Gardner
Author
Norman, OK

Rochel Gelman, Ph.D., N.A.S.3
Professor of Psychology, Co-Director of the Center for Cognitive Science
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ

Henry Gleitman, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Psychology
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Lila Gleitman, Ph.D., N.A.S.
Professor Emerita of Psychology
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Richard Green, M.D., J.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Research Director
Charing Cross Hospital
London, UK

David A. Halperin, M.D. (deceased)
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
John Jay College
New York, NY

Ernest Hilgard, Ph.D., N.A.S. (deceased)
Professor Emeritus of Psychology
Stanford University
Palo Alto, CA

John Hochman, M.D.
Assistant Clinical Professor at the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Los Angeles, CA

David S. Holmes, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS

Philip S. Holzman, Ph.D., I.O.M. (deceased), Rabb Professor of Psychology and Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard University
Boston, MA

Robert A. Karlin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, NJ

Harold Lief, M.D. (deceased)
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Elizabeth Loftus, Ph.D., N.A.S.
Distinguished Professor
University of California
Irvine, CA

Susan L. McElroy, MD
Professor of Neuroscience
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Cincinnati, OH

Paul McHugh, M.D., I.O.M.
University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry
John Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD

Harold Merskey, D.M.
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry
University of Western Ontario
London, ONT Canada

Spencer Harris Morfit
Author
Westford, MA

Ulric Neisser, Ph.D., N.S.A.
Professor of Psychology
Cornell, University
Ithaca, NY

Richard Ofshe, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus of Sociology
University of California
Berkeley, CA

Emily Carota Orne, B.A.
Research Psychologist
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Martin Orne, M.D., Ph.D. (deceased)
Professor of Psychiatry
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Loren Pankratz, Ph.D.
Consultation Psychologist & Clinical Professor
in Department of Psychiatry Oregon Health Sciences University
Portland, OR

Campbell Perry, Ph.D. (deceased)
Professor of Psychology
Concordia University
Montreal PQ Canada

Michael Persinger, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Behavioral Neuroscience
Laurentian University
Sudbury, ON Canada

August T. Piper, Jr., M.D.
Psychiatrist
Seattle, WA

Harrison Pope, Jr., M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Harvard Medical School
Cambridge, MA

James Randi
Author and Magician
Plantation, FL

Henry L. Roediger, III, Ph.D., A.A.A.S.
Professor of Psychology
Washington University
St. Louis, MO

Carolyn Saari, Ph.D.
Professor of Social Work (Retired)
Loyola University
Chicago, IL

Theodore Sarbin, Ph.D. (deceased)
Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Criminology
University of California
Santa Cruz, CA

Thomas A. Sebeok, Ph.D. (deceased)
Distinquished Professor Emeritus
of Linquistics and Semiotics
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN

Michael A. Simpson, R.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., M.R.C., D.O.M.
Center for Psychosocial & Traumatic Stress
Pretoria, South Africa

Margaret Singer, Ph.D. (deceased)
Adjunct Professor Emeritus of Psychology
University of California
Berkeley, CA

Ralph Slovenko, J.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Law and Psychiatry
Wayne State University Law School
Detroit, MI

Donald Spence, Ph.D. (deceased)
Professor of Psychiatry
Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center
Princeton, NJ

Jeffrey Victor, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology (Retired)
Jamestown Community College
Jamestown, NY

Hollida Wakefield, M.A.
Psychologist
Institute for Psychological Therapies
Northfield, MN

Charles A. Weaver, III, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
Baylor University
Waco, TX

EXHIBIT 2
FMS FOUNDATION
RECOVERED MEMORIES
Are They Reliable?

Professional organizations have responded to the challenge of that question. This document contains excerpts from some professional statements that help to clarify the issue.

DISTINGUISHING TRUE FROM FALSE MEMORIES: NEED FOR CORROBORATION

"It is not known how to distinguish, with complete accuracy, memories based on true events from those derived from other sources."
American Psychiatric Association, Statement on Memories of Sexual Abuse, 1993.

"The AMA considers recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse to be of uncertain authenticity, which should be subject to external verification."
American Medical Association, Council on Scientific Affairs, Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse, 1994.

"The available scientific and clinical evidence does not allow accurate, inaccurate, and fabricated memories to be distinguished in the absence of independent corroboration."
Australian Psychological Society, Guidelines Relating to the Reporting of Recovered Memories, 1994.

"At present there are no scientifically valid criteria that would generally permit the reliable differentiation of true recovered memories of sexual abuse from pseudomemories."
Michigan Psychological Association, Recovered Memories of Sexual Abuse: MPA Position Paper, 1995.

"At this point it is impossible, without other corroborative evidence, to distinguish a true memory from a false one."
American Psychological Association, Questions and Answers about Memories of Childhood Abuse, 1995.

"Psychologists acknowledge that a definite conclusion that a memory is based on objective reality is not possible unless there is incontrovertible corroborating evidence."
Canadian Psychological Association, Position Statement on Adult Recovered Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse, 1996.

HYPNOSIS AND MEMORY RECOVERY TECHNIQUES

"The Council finds that recollections obtained during hypnosis can involve confabulations and pseudomemories and not only fail to be more accurate, but actually appear to be less reliable than nonhypnotic recall."
American Medical Association, Council on Scientific Affairs, Scientific Status of Refreshing Recollections by the Use of Hypnosis, 1985.

"Psychiatrists are advised to avoid engaging in any ‘memory recovery techniques’ which are based upon the expectation of past sexual abuse of which the patient has no memory. Such ‘memory recovery techniques’ may include drug-mediated interviews, hypnosis, regression therapies, guided imagery, ‘body memories,’ literal dream interpretation and journaling. There is no evidence that the use of consciousness-altering techniques, such as drug-mediated interviews or hypnosis, can reveal or accurately elaborate factual information about any past experiences including childhood sexual abuse. Techniques on regression therapy including ‘age regression’ and hypnotic regression are of unproved effectiveness."
Royal College of Psychiatrists, Reported Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse, 1997. (UK)

GENERAL CAUTION

"The use of recovered memories is fraught with problems of potential misapplication."
American Medical Association, Council on Scientific Affairs, Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse, 1994.

SYMPTOMS AS INDICATORS OF PAST ABUSE

"There is no single set of symptoms which automatically indicates that a person was a victim of childhood abuse. There have been media reports of therapists who state that people (particularly women) with a particular set of problems or symptoms must have been victims of childhood sexual abuse. There is no scientific evidence that supports this conclusion."
American Psychological Association, Questions and Answers about Memories of Childhood Abuse, 1995.

"Psychologists recognize that there is no constellation of symptoms which is diagnostic of child sexual abuse." Canadian Psychological Association, Position Statement on Adult Recovered Memories of Childhood Sexual Abuse, 1996.

"Previous sexual abuse in the absence of memories of these events cannot be diagnosed through a checklist of symptoms."
Royal College of Psychiatrists, Reported Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse, 1997. (UK)

TRAUMATIC MEMORIES

"Most people who were sexually abused as children remember all or part of what happened to them although they may not fully understand or disclose it."
American Psychological Association, Working Group on Investigation of Memories of Child Abuse, 1996.

"While traumatic memories may be different than (sic) ordinary memories, we currently do not have conclusive scientific consensus on this issue."
International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Childhood Trauma Remembered: A Report on the Current Scientific Knowledge Base and its Applications, 1996.

"[B] ecause exactly what is meant by the terms of ‘repression’ and ‘dissociation’ is far from clear, their use has become idiosyncratic, metaphoric, and arbitrary."
Scientific Advisory Board of the FMS Foundation, Statement on Recovered Memories, 1998.

WHEN DEALING WITH RECOVERED MEMORIES KEEP IN MIND THAT:

"Research has shown that over time memory for events can be changed or reinterpreted in such a way as to make the memory more consistent with the person’s present knowledge and/or expectations."
American Psychological Association, 1995.

"Memories also can be significantly influenced by a trusted person."
American Psychiatric Association, 1994.

"The AMA considers recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse to be of uncertain authenticity, which should be subject to external verification."
American Medical Association, 1994.

EXHIBIT 3
TABLE 1
STUDIES OF PSYCHOLOGICAL SYMPTOMS IN TRAUMA SURVIVORS

Reprinted from Pope, H.G., Oliva, P.S. & Hudson, J. I. (2002). Scientific Status of Research on Repressed Memories. In D.L. Faigman, D.H.Kaye, M.J. Saks & J. Sanders (Eds.) Modern Scientific Evidence. St. Paul, MN: West Group.

Pope et al. performed a non-selective literature search for examples of studies between 1960 and 1999 where the investigators performed psychological assessments on groups of survivors of specific, historically documented traumatic events. There is no shortage of such studies; the studies summarized below that assessed victims of all manner of traumatic events are merely representative of a larger literature. "It is striking that none of the more than 11,000 victims is reported to have repressed the memory of the traumatic event. Admittedly, some of the survivors in some of the studies did exhibit amnesia for the trauma, but in all cases, the amnesia appears explainable for ordinary reasons, such as loss of consciousness or early childhood amnesia... Only two fragmentary case reports in two of the studies suggest even partial amnesia in individuals over the age of three who did not lose consciousness. Some of the studies in the table report ‘memory disturbances’ among some trauma survivors. However, ‘memory disturbances’ should not be misinterpreted as evidence that the subjects forgot the trauma itself. In fact, disturbances of memory and concentration are ubiquitous in mood and anxiety disorders, regardless of whether these disorders occur in the wake of trauma. Indeed, impairment of concentration is one of the criteria in DSM-IV for the diagnosis of major depressive disorder."

Study Event No. Subjects Data Collection Methods Amnesia Remarks:
Strom et al., 1961 Holocaust 100 Interviews No  
Chodoff, 1963 Holocaust 23 Psychiatric interviews No Subjects reported their experiences with "a vivid immediacy and wealth of detail."
Lepold et al., 1963 Marine explosion 34 Interviews No Authors note that "repression does not appear possible."
Terr, 1979, 1983 Chowchilla bus kidnapping 26 Interviews No  
Eaton et al., 1982 Holocaust 135 Interviews No Although 20 (15 percent) of the 135 survivors had memory problems, so did 15 (11 percent) of the 133 non-traumatized controls; none reported to have amnesia.
Wilkinson, 1983 Hyatt skywalk collapse 102 Questionnaire, interviews No  
Hoibert & McCaugher,1984 Collision at sea 336 Extracted records from Naval Health Research Ctr. No 11 percent were hospitalized for various psychiatric difficulties following the collision. None suffered from amnesia.
Dollinger, 1985 Lightning strike disaster 38 Interviews Yes The 2 children that had amnesia were side flash (2 cases) victims.
Malmquist, 1986 Children who witnessed parental murder 16 Questionnaires (Impact of Events Scale) No "Recollection of vivid memories of the event were present in all 16 of the children."
Kinzie et al., 1986, 1989; Sack et al., 1993 Cambodian concentration camp victims 40 Interviews No  
Shore et al., 1986 Mt. St. Helens 548 Interviews No Explosion
Aveline & Fowlie, 1987 Ejection from military aircraft 175 Questionnaires No  
Earls et al., 1988 Flooding (children Ages 6-17) 32 Interviews No Interviews were done with parents.
Malt, 1988 Accidental injury 107 Interviews, questionnaires No  
McFarlane (series) Australian brush fires 469 Questionnaires, interviews No After 11 months, firefighters with PTSD actually displayed better memory than those without PTSD
Pynoos & Nader, 1988 Children who witnessed sexual assault of their mothers 10 Interviews No  
Dahl, 1989 Rape victims 55 Interviews, questionnaires No  
Ersland et al., 1989 Oil rig disaster 134 Questionnaires No  
Feinstein, 1989 Village ambushed in Namibia 14 Interviews No  
Hytten & Hasle, 1989 Fire 58 Questionnaires No  
Maj et al., 1989 Earthquake 589 Questionnaires, interviews No  
Nadler and Ben-Shushan, 1989 Holocaust 34 Interviews No  
Pynoos & Nader, 1989 Sniper attack at elementary school 133 Interviews No Some children "remembered" the sniper although they were not. actually at the scene. None reported amnesia.
Stoddard et al., 1989 Burned children 30 Interview, review of records No  
Weisaeth, 1989 Torture victims 13 Interviews, questionnaires No  
Weisaeth, 1989 Industrial disaster (explosion) 125 Interviews No Author notes memory impairment in 20 cases but not actual amnesia for the disaster reported.
Robinson et al., 1990 Holocaust 86 Questionnaires No 82 percent of subjects reported hyperamnesia continuously since World War II.
Wagenaar & Groeneweg, 1990 Holocaust 78 Review of testimony in De Rijke case No Almost all witnesses remembered Camp Erika in "great detail" even after 40 years.
Green et al., 1991 Buffalo Creek Disaster (children) 179 Interviews Yes 7 percent unable to recall part of event, but 43 (25 percent) subjects were aged 2-7 at time of flood.
Nolen-Hoeksema & Morrow, 1991 Earthquake 137 Questionnaires No  
Realmuto et al., 1991 Williams Pipeline Disaster 24 Interviews ? Amnesia only briefly mentioned; no cases presented.
Stuber et al., 1991 Pediatric bone marrow transplant patients 6 Interviews and assessment through scales No  
Weissberg & Katz, 1991 Crash of Continental 1713 15 Questionnaires, interviews No Study of hospital-based personnel who worked with crash victims.
Realmuto et al., 1992 Cambodian refugees (children) 47 Questionnaires No  
Rothbaum et al., 1992 Rape victims 95 Questionnaires, interviews No Many subjects had impaired concentration and memory, but none described as having amnesia.
Brooks & McKinlay, 1992; Scott et al., 1995 Crash of Pan Am 103 in Lockerbie 66 Interviews No  
Escobar et al., 1992 Flash floods, mudslides 139 Interviews No Mention amnesia in context of "pseudoneuro-logical" but finds similar symptoms in non-traumatized comparison subjects. No actual amnesia for the trauma reported.
Breton et al., 1993 Industrial disaster (PCB fire) 87 Verbal questionnaires No Study was done on children (ages 3-11) whose families were evacuated from disaster area.
Cardena & Spiegel, 1993 Earthquake 100 Questionnaires, interviews No "Dissociative symptoms" described, but no subject had amnesia for the earthquake.
Krell, 1993 Holocaust 25 Interviews and therapy No Results largely non-quantitative.
Lundin & Bodegard, 1993 Earthquake 49 Questionnaires No Study done on rescue workers.
Pelcovitz et al., 1994 Physical abuse 27 Interviews No One refused to answer, but none reported as having amnesia.
Bowler et al., 1994 Railroad chemical disaster 220 Questionnaires, interviews No Memory and concentration problems noted in both trauma group and non-traumatized comparison group.
Hardin et al., 1994 Hurricane Hugo (adolescents) 1482 Questionnaires No  
Jones et al., 1994 Wildfires (children and adolescents) 23 Questionnaires, interviews No  
Koopman et al., 1994 Firestorms 154     "Dissociation" reported, but no actual amnesia for traumatic event.
Carr et al., 1995 1989 Newcastle Earthquake 3007 17-page questionnaires No
Hagstrom, 1995 Train collision (Norway) 66 Questionnaires   Avoidant behaviors noted but amnesia not mentioned.
Turner et al., 1995 Underground railroad station fire 50 Assisted completion of questionnaires No  
Lee et al., 1995 World War II combat 107 Questionnaires No Cohort assembled in 1938 as college students and studied prospectively.
Ursano et al., 1995 Explosion on USS Iowa 54 Questionnaires No Study of body handlers.
Weine et al., 1995, 1998 "Ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia 20/34 Interviews, questionnaires No  
Najarian et al., 1996 Armenian Earthquake 49 Interviews, questionnaires ? "Psychogenic amnesia" mentioned in table but was twice as common in a non-traumatized group as in Earthquake group. No example pre- sented of a subject who forgot the earthquake.
Savin et al., 1996 Cambodian refugees 99 Interviews, questionnaires No  
Shaw et al., 1996 Hurricane Andrew (children) 30 Questionnaires and teachers’ ratings No  
Tyano, 1996 Bus-Train Collision (children) 83 Questionnaires No Nine subjects actually on the bus that crashed, while 74 students witnessed the crash.
Terr et al., 1997 Challenger explosion 153 Interviews regarding memories No Generally clear memories, though some mistakes; no amnesia for event.
LaGreca et al., 1996 Hurricane Andrew 442 Interviews, questionnaires No Multiple instruments administered at three points after exposure. Despite elaborate analysis and details, no mention of amnesia for all or part of trauma.
Carlier et al., 1997 Bijlmermeer plane crash 136 Interviews Yes 12 (8 percent) of 136 victims were said to have "psychogenic amnesia" but no examples are given, nor is any case described in which a victim for- got the crash itself.
Groenjian et al., 1997 Armenian earthquake 64 Interviews No No mention of amnesia in either the 35 children receiving psychotherapy or the 29 children who did not receive psychotherapy.
DiGallo et al., 1997 Road traffic accidents 53 Interviews Yes Although amnesia is mentioned, it is also noted that 10 subjects lost consciousness during the accident. All of these subjects had vivid memo- ries of the time before and after losing consciousness.
Southwick et al., 1997 Operation Desert Storm 59 Questionnaires No Describes inconsistencies in reports of veterans at 1 month and at 2 years post combat. However, the study provides no documentation that failureto report an event at either time point indicates amnesia for the event.
Engdahl et al., 1997 Prisoners of war 262 Interviews, questionnaires No Detailed follow-up of 262 victims, including case reports. No mention of amnesia.
Mollica et al., 1997 Cambodian refugees 182 Interviews No Interviewed about various psychological parameters; no mention of memory loss or amnesia.
North et al., 1997 Mass shooting 136 Interviews ? Although "amnesia" is a symptom in about 10 percent of subjects, no evidence is presented that any subject actually forgot the shooting.
Jenkins et al., 1998 Rape victims 31 Questionnaires No The victims displayed poor memory of word lists, but no one is described as showing amnesia for the rape itself.
Asarnow et al., 1999 Northridge earthquake 63 Interviews No High rates of psychopathology but no mention of amnesia.
Koren et al., 1999 Traffic accidents 74 Interviews No No amnesia mentioned on the follow up
Becker et al., 1999 Bosnian War 10 Interviews No No descriptions of amnesia and no cases with scores greater than 1 on ratings of amnesia.
Favaro et al., 1999 Nazi concentration camp victims 98 Interviews No  
Sack et al., 1999 Pol Pot victims 27 Interviews No  

References for the List of 77 Studies of Psychological Symptoms in Trauma Survivors.

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2. P. Chodoff, Late Effects of the Concentration Camp Syndrome, 8 ARCHIVES OF GEN. PSYCHIATRY 323-33 (1963);

3. R.L. Lepopld & H. Dillon, psycho-anatomy of a Disaster: A Long Term Study of Post-traumatic Neuroses in Survivors of a Marine Explosion, 119 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 913-21 (1963);

4. L.C. Terr, Children of Chowchilla: A Study of Psychic Trauma, 34 PSYCHOANALYTIC STUDY CHILD 552-623 (1979);

5. L.C. Terr, Chowchilla Revisited: The Effects of Psychic Trauma Four Years After a School-bus Kidnaping, 140 AM J. PSYCHIATRY 1543-50 (1983);

6. W.W. Eaton, J.J. Sigal, & M. Weinfeld, Impairment in Holocaust Survivors After 33 Years: Data from an Unbiased Community Sample, 139 AM J. PSYCHIATRY 773-77 (1982);

7. C.B. Wilkinson, Aftermath of a Disaster: The Collapse of the Hyatt Regency Hotel Skywalks, 140 AM J. PSYCHIATRY 1134-39 (1983);

8. A. Hoiberg & B.G. McCaugher, The Traumatic Aftereffects of Collision at Sea, 141 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 70-73 (1984);

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17. U. Malt, The Long-term Psychiatric Consequences of Accidental Injury: A Longitudinal Study of 107 Adults, 153 BRIT. J. PSYCHIATRY 810-18 (1988);

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27. A. Nadler & D. Ben-Shushan, Forty Years Later: Long-term Consequences of Massive Traumatization as Manifested by Holocaust Survivors from the City and the Kibbutz, 57 J. CONSULTING & CLINICAL PSYCHOL. 287-93 (1989);

28. R. S. Pynoos, K. Nader, Children’s Memory and Proximity to Violence, 28 J. AM. ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY 236-41 (1989);

29. F. J. Stoddard, D. K. Norman, J. M. Murphy, & W. R. Beardslee, Psychiatric Outcome of Burned Children and Adolescents, 28 J. AM. J. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY 589-95 (1989);

30. L. Weisaeth, Torture of a Norwegian Ship’s Crew: The Torture, Stress Reactions and Psychiatric Afrer-effects, 80 ACTA PSYCHIATRICA SCANDINAVICA SUPPL. 355, 63-72 (1989);

31. L. Weisaeth, A Study of Behavioural Responses to an Industrial Disaster, 80 ACTA PSYCHIATRICA SCANDINAVICA SUPPL. 355, 13-24 (1989);

32. L. Weisaeth, The Stressors and the Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome After an Industrial Disaster, 80 ACTA PSYCHIATRICA SCANDINAVICA SUPP. 355, 25-37 (1989);

33. S. Robinson, J. Rapaport, R. Durst, M. Rapaport, P. Rosca, S. Metzer, & L. Zilberman, The Late Effects of Nazi Persecution Among Elderly Holocaust Survivors, 82 ACTA PSYCHIATRICA SCANDINAVICA 311-15 (1990);

34. W. A. Wagenaar & J. Groeneweg, The Memory of Concentration Camp Survivors, 4 APPLIED COGNITIVE PSYCHOL. 77-87 (1990);

35. B.L. Green, M. Korol, M. C. Grace, M. G. Vary, A. C. Leonard, G. C. Gleser, & S. Smitson-Cohen, Children and Disaster: Age, Gender, and Parental Effects on PTSD Symptoms, 30 J. AM. ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY 945-50 (1991);

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37. G.M. Realmuto, N. Wagner, & J. Bartholow, The Williams Pipeline Disaster: A Controlled Study of a Technological Accident, 4 J. TRAUMATIC STRESS 469-79 (1991);

38. M. L. Stuber, K. Nader, P. Yasuda, R. S. Pynoos, & S. Cohen, Stress Responses After Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation: Preliminary Results of a Prospective Longitudinal Study, 30 J. AM. ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY 952-57 (1991);

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41. J. J. Breton, J. P. Valla, J. Lambert, Industrial Disaster and Mental Health of Children and Their Parents, 32 J. AM. ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY 438-45 (1993);

42. R. B. Scott, N. Brooks, & W. McKinlay, Post-traumatic Morbidity in a Civilian Community of Litigants: A Follow-up at 3 Years, 8 J. TRAUMATIC STRESS 403-17 (1995);

43. J. I. Escobar, G. Canino, M. Rubio-Stipec, & M. Bravo, Somatic Symptoms After a Natural Disaster: A Prospective Study, 149 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 965-67 ( 1992);

44. G. M. Realmuto, A. Masten, L. F. Carole, J. Hubbard, A. Groteluschen, & B. Chhun, Adolescent Survivors of Massive Childhood Trauma in Cambodia: Life Events and Current Symptoms, 5 J. TRAUMATIC STRESS 589-99 (1992);

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46. E. Cardena & D. Spiegel, Dissociative Reactions to the San Francisco Bay Area Earthquake of 1989, 150 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 474-78 (1993);

47. R. Krell, Child Survivors of the Holocaust Strategies of Adaptation, 38 CAN. J. PSYCHIATRY 384-89 (1993);

48. T. Lundin & M. Bodegard, The Psychological Impact of an Earthquake on Rescue Workers: A Follow-up Study of the Swedish Group of Rescue Workers in Armenia, 6 J. TRAUMATIC STRESS 129-39 (1993);

49. R. M. Bowler, D. Mergler, G, Huel, & J. E. Cone, Psychological, Psychosocial, and Psychophysiological Sequelae in a Community Affected by a Railroad Chemical Disaster, 7 J. TRAUMATIC STRESS 601-24 (1994);

50. S. B. Hardin, M. Weinrich, S. Weinrich, T. L. Hardin, & C. Garrison, Psychological Distress of Adolescents Exposed to Hurricane Hugo, 7 J. TRAUMATIC STRESS 427-40 (1994);

51. R. T. Jones, D. P. Ribbe, & P. Cunningham, Psychosocial Correlates of Fire Disaster Among Children and Adolescents, 7 J. TRAUMATIC STRESS 117-22 (1994);

52. C. Koopman, C. Classen, & D. Spiegel, Predictors of Posttraumatic Stress Symptoms Among Survivors of the Oakland/Berkeley, California Firestorm, 151 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 888-94 (1994);

53. V. J. Carr, T. J. Lewin, R. A. Webster, P. L. Hazell, J. A. Kenardy, & G. L. Carter, Psychosocial Sequelae of the 1989 Newcastle Earthquake: I. Community Disaster Experiences and Psychological Morbidity 6 Months Post-disaster, 25 PSYCHOL. MED. 539-55 (1995);

54. R. Hagstrom, The Acute Psychological Impact on Survivors Following a Train Accident, 8 J. TRAUMATIC STRESS 391-402 (1995);

55. S. W. Turner, J. Thompson, & R. M. Rosser, The King’s Cross Fire: Psychological Reactions, 8 J. TRAUMATIC STRESS 419-27 (1995);

56. K. A. Lee, G. E. Vaillant, W. C. Torrey, & G. H. Elder, A 50-year Prospective Study of the Psychological Sequelae of World War II Combat, 152 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 516-22 (1995);

57. R. J. Ursano, C. S. Fullerton, T. Kao, & V. R. Bhartiya, Longitudinal Assessment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Depression After Exposure to Traumatic Death, 183 J. NERVOUS & MENTAL DISEASE 36-42 (1995);

58. S. M. Weine, D. F. Becker, T. H. McGlashan, D. Laub, S. Lazrove, D. Vojvoda, & L. Hyman, Psychiatric Consequences of "Ethnic Cleansing:" Clinical Assessments and Trauma Testimonies of Newly Resettled Bosnian Refugees, 152 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 536-42 (1995);

59. L. M. Najarian, A. K. Goenjian, D. Pelcovitz, F. Mandel, & B. Najarian, Relocation After a Disaster: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Armenia After the Earthquake, 35 J. AM. ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY 384- 91 (1996);

60. D. Savin, W. H. Sack, G. N. Clarke, N. Meas, & I. M. L. Richart, The Khmer Adolescent Project: IlI A Study of Trauma from Thailand’s Site II Refugee Camp, 35 J. AM. ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY 384-91 (1996);

61. J. A. Shaw, B. Applegate, & C. Schorr, Twenty-one Month Follow-up Study of School-age Children Exposed to Hurricane Andrew, 35 J. AM. ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY 359-64 (1996);

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63. L. C. Terr, D. A. Bloch, B. A. Michel, H. Shi, J. A. Reinhardt, & S. Metayer, Children’s Memories in the Wake of Challenger, 153 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 618-25 (1996);

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66. A.K. Groenjian, I. Karayan, R.S. Pynoos, D. Minassian, L.M. Najarian, A.M. Steinberg, L.A. Fairbanks, Outcome of Psychotherapy Among Early Adolescents After Trauma, 154 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 536-42 (1997);

67. A. DiGallo, J. Barton, W.L.I. Parry-Jones, Road Traffic Accidents: Early Psychological Consequences in Children and Adolescents, 170 BR. J. PSYCHIATRY 358-62 (1997);

68. S.M. Southwick, C.A. Morgan, A.L. Nicolaou, D.S. Charney, Consistency of Memory for Combat-Related Traumatic Events in Veterans of Operation Desert Storm, 154 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 173-77 (1997);

69. B. Engdahl, T.N. Dikel, R. Eberly, A. Blank, Jr., Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in a Community Group of Former Prisoners of War: A Normative Response to Severe Trauma, 154 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 1576-81 (1997);

70. R.F. Mollica, M.A.R., C. Poole, L. Son, C.C. Murray, S. Tor, Effects of War Trauma on Cambodian Refugee Adolescents’ Functional Health and Mental Health Status, 36 J. AM. ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY 1098-1106 (1997);

71. C.S. North, E.M. Smith, E.L. Spitznagel, One-Year Follow-Up of Survivors of a Mass Shooting, 154 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 1696-1702 (1997);

72. M.A. Jenkins, P.J. Langlais, D. Delis, R. Cohen, Learning and Memory in Rape Victims with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, 155 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 278-9 (1998);

73. J. Asarnow, S. Glynn, R.S. Pynoos, J. Nahum, D. Guthrie, D.P. Cantwell, B. Franklin, When the Earth Stops Shaking: Earthquake Sequelae Among Children Diagnosed for Pre-Earthquake Psychopathology, 38 J. AM ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY 1016-23 (1999);

74. D. Koren, I. Arnon, E. Klein, Acute Stress Response and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Traffic Accident Victims: A One-Year Prospective, Follow-Up Study, 156 AM. J. PSYCHIATRY 367-73 (1999);

75. D.F. Becker, S.N. Weine, D. Vojvoda, T.H. McGlashan, Case Series: PTSD Symptoms in Adolescent Survivors of "Ethnic Cleansing." Results From a 1-Year Follow-up Study, 38 J. AM. ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC. PSYCHIATRY 775-781 (1999);

76. A. Favaro, F.C. Rodella, G. Colombo, P. Santonastaso, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depression Among Italian Nazi Concentration Camp Survivors: A Controlled Study 50 Years Later, 29 PSYCHOL. MEDICINE 87-95 (1999);

77. W.S. Sack, C. Him, D. Dickason, Twelve-Year Follow-up Study of Khmer Youths Who Suffered Massive War Trauma as Children, 38 J. AM. ACAD. CHILD ADOLESC PSYCHIATRY 1173-9 (1999).

EXHIBIT 4: Excerpt: The 86-mile-per-hour trees. Chapter 5 in Pope,Jr., H.
(1997). Psychology Astray: Fallacies in Studies of "Repressed Memory" and Childhood Trauma. Boca Raton, Fl: Upton Books. Pages 31-35.

As suggested in the previous chapter, some people might argue that studies of physical pain, as in the sickle cell victims, would not apply to emotional traumas, such as longstanding sexual abuse. After all, one does not read case reports of sickle cell victims who repressed the memory of their "crises." But one can find published case reports of individuals who appear to have repressed the memory of childhood sexual abuse (1). Do such case reports represent useful scientific evidence?

In answer to this question, it is productive to recall some of the other case reports that have appeared in the scientific literature from time to time. For example, a report in the prestigious American Journal of Psychiatry described a woman who appeared to have acquired the ability to speak another language by seemingly supernatural means (2). She was said to display a secondary personality, capable of speaking a language that she had never learned, that tended to appear on the eighth day of the waxing or waning moon. The authors did not provide any explanation based upon known scientific principles for this case of "paranormally acquired speech." Similarly, one can find compelling case reports of individuals who have had experiences in past lives (3,4) and, of course, individuals who have been abducted by space aliens (5). To most of us, these various phenomena seem inconsistent with our common sense and experience. Yet they have all been described in detailed case reports. Therefore, should we assume that such phenomena actually occur? And if not, why do we not accept these case reports as adequate evidence?

The reason that we do not is because of a principle known in science as "measurement error." This term refers to the fact that, when one makes a large number of observations, a few mistakes are bound to occur. In other words, there is a certain "background noise," due to occasional "false-positive" observations, which permeates even the most careful studies. A classic example of such a "false-positive" was obtained by a police department in Florida that used a radar gun to clock a grove of trees moving at 86 miles per hour, and a house moving at a more leisurely 20 miles per hour (6). In other words, although radar is usually accurate (as most of us unfortunately know), it is, like everything else, vulnerable to false-positive observations.

How do scientists deal with the problem of "measurement error?" There are various methods, depending upon the type of research being conducted. For example, if we know that a test for the HIV virus is wrong approximately 1 percent of the time, and this test yield a 10 percent prevalence rate for HIV in a given population of individuals, we can state with reasonable confidence (depending on the size of the population) that this population has an elevated rate of HIV infection. In other words, our finding cannot be explained merely by the rate of false positives expected from the test. This case is an example of what the United States Supreme Court had in mind, in its pivotal Daubert ruling, when it required that a scientific test have a "known rate of error" in order to be admissible in expert scientific testimony (7). When the rate of error is unknown, and possibly high - as in such methods as handwriting analysis, lie detector tests, or hypnotically refreshed memory - then the admissibility of the evidence is thrown into question. It may be ruled "junk science" and thrown out of the courtroom.

Returning now to the issues of repression and recovered memory, we find an analogous situation. There are unquestionably various anecdotal cases in which individuals have provided dramatic stories of an allegedly repressed memory that was subsequently recovered years later, and where corroborating evidence was reportedly found to prove that the recovered memory was true. Some of these cases appear compelling. But then, when we consider that literally hundreds of thousands of therapists and counselors of every description have seen many millions of patients over the years, one would expect to see some published case descriptions of repressed memory, purely as a result of measurement error alone. Specifically, if the rate of "false positives" were only one in one thousand, but we have a denominator of millions of patients, one might find hundreds or thousands of "cases" even of a phenomenon which did not actually exist at all.

Now of course, diagnosing "repression" in a patient is not a mechanical technique like clocking speeds with a radar gun. But since there is no mechanical method to test the existence of repression in a given case, the rate of error is even harder to calculate. Further, since the diagnosis of repression relies on the verbal reports of the patient and the impressions of the therapist, it is much more likely to be influenced by the underlying beliefs of the two parties than would a measurement performed with a machine. Such beliefs introduce yet another degree of uncertainty into the error rate.

With repression, in other words, we have not only a large and unknown denominator, but also little idea of the rate of error to be expected. If we studied 100 patients with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, and found 2 individuals with seemingly clear, corroborated cases of repressed memory, would this finding represent a satisfactory scientific demonstration of repression? Or would a 2 percent rate be simply the level of "background noise" to be expected from measurement error alone? If the 2 percent rate is due to measurement error, then the study would offer no evidence for repression at all. Because we do not know the rate of "false positives" to be expected in this situation, we would require a robust prevalence of documented cases of repression in our hypothetical study to be certain that we were comfortably above the level that could be accounted for by measurement error.

In summary, then, when we hear a dramatic and seemingly ironclad case example of some individual who appears to have repressed and recovered a memory of childhood sexual abuse or other trauma, it is easy to be impressed. Indeed, such cases may be valuable as "hypothesis-generating" evidence. In other words, they suggest that the concept of repression would be worth studying. But they provide no proof: they are not legitimate "hypothesis-testing" evidence. In the modern scientific debate on the existence of repression and recovered memory, such case reports have no more place than the 20-mile-per-hour house or the 86-mile-per-hour trees.

References

1. See, for example: Martinez-Taboas, A. Repressed memories: Some clinical data contributing towards its elucidation. Am J Psychotherapy 50:217-230, 1996; and Apitzsch, H. Trauma and dissociation in refugee patients. Nord J Psychiatry 50:333-336, 1996.

2. Stevenson, I, Pasricha, S. A case of secondary personality with xenoglossy. Am J Psychiatry 139:1591-1592, 1979.

3. Pasricha, S. Stevenson, I. Three cases of the reincarnation type in India. Ind J Psychiatry 19:36-42, 1997. For a critique of Stevenson’s work, which points out the danger of reporting "astounding matches" while minimizing non-matches and inconsistencies, see: Angel L. Empirical evidence for reincarnation? Examining Stevenson’s "most impressive" case. The Skeptical Inquirer 18:481-487, 1994.

4. Woolger, R. Other Lives, Other Selves. New York: Doubleday, 1987.

5. Mack, J.E. Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens. New York: Scribners, 1994.

6. Smith, D, Tomerlin, J. Beating the Radar Rap. Chicago: Bonus Books, 1990.

7. Daubert v. Merrell-Dow Pharmaceuticals. U.S. Supreme Court, December 2, 1992. No. 92-102.

Notes

[1] A definition of "false memory syndrome" has been suggested by John F. Kihlstrom, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at University of California at Berkeley, as follows: "[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." (p. 16) Kihlstrom, J.F. (1998). Exhumed memory. In S. J. Lynn & K.M. McConkey (Eds.) Truth in Memory. Guilford Press, 3-31.
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[2] The American Psychological Association approved the FMS Foundation to offer continuing education for psychologists. The Foundation co-sponsored three scientific conferences with Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions between 1994 and 1996.
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[3] A list of the FMS Foundation Scientific and Professional Advisory Board members is attached hereto as Exhibit 1.
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[4] See, e.g., McNally, R.J. (2005). Debunking myths about trauma and memory. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 50 (13), 817-822; Clancy, S.A. & McNally, R.J. (2005-6). Who needs repression? Normal memory processes can explain "forgetting" of childhood sexual abuse. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 4(2), 66-73; Brainerd, C.J. and Reyna, V.F. (2005). The Science of False Memory, Oxford Psychology Series # 38. Oxford University Press; McGaugh, J.L. (2003). Memory and emotion: The making of lasting memories. New York: Columbia University Press; Frankel, F.H. (1993). Adult reconstruction of childhood events in the multiple personality literature. American Journal of Psychiatry, 150(6), 954-958; Holmes, D. (1990). The evidence for repression: An examination of sixty years of research. In J. Singer (ed.), Repression and Dissociation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; Lindsay, D.S. & Read, J.D. (1995). ‘Memory work’ and recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse: Scientific evidence and public, professional, and personal issues. Psychology. Public Policy, and the Law, 1(4), 846-908; Lindsay, D.S. & Read, J.D. (1994). Psychotherapy and memories of childhood abuse: A cognitive perspective. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 8(4),281-338; McNally, R.J. (2003). Remembering Trauma. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; Pendergrast, M. (1996). Victims of Memory. Hinesburg, VT: Upper Access Books; Pope, H.G. & Hudson, J.I. (1995). Can memories of childhood sexual abuse be repressed? Psycho1ogical Medicine, 25,121-126; Pope, H.G., et al.(1999). Attitudes toward DSM-IV dissociative disorders diagnoses among board-certified American psychiatrists. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156(2), 321-323; Tillman, J.G., Nash, M.R. & Lerner, P.M. (1994). Does trauma cause dissociative pathology? In S. Lynn and J. Rhue (eds.), Dissociation: Clinical, Theoretical and Research Perspectives. New York: Guilford Press, 395-414.
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[5] For example: McGaugh, J. (2003). Id at 6.
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[6] See, e.g., Loftus, E.F. (2005). Planting mis-information in the human mind: A 30-year investigation of the malleability of memory. Learning & Memory, 12, 361-366; Loftus, E.F. (1993). The reality of repressed memories. American Psychologist, 48(5), 518-537.
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[7] See, for example, Pezdek, K. & Banks, W. (Eds.) (1996). The Recovered Memory/False Memory Debate. New York: Academic Press; Memon, A. & Young, M. (1997). Desperately seeking evidence: The recovered memory debate. Legal & Criminological Psychology, 2(2), 131-154; Kristiansen, C.M., Haslip, S.J. & Kelly, K.D. (1997). Scientific and judicial illusions of objectivity in the recovered memory debate. Feminism & Psychology, 7(1), 39-45; APA Working Group on Investigations of Memories of childhood abuse. (1998). Final conclusions of the American Psychological Association working group on investigation of memories of childhood abuse. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 4, 933-940; MacMartin, C., & Yarmey, A.D. (1998). Repression, Dissociation, and the Recovered Memory Debate: Constructing Scientific Evidence and Expertise. Expert Evidence, 6, 203-226; Colangelo, J.J. (2007, April 1). Recovered memory debate revisited: Practice implications for mental health counselors. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 29(2), 93-120; MacMartin, C. & Yarmey, A.D. (1999). Rhetoric and the Recovered Memory Debate. Canadian Psychology, 40, 343-58.
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[8] McNally, R.J. (2003). Id at 6.
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[9] McHugh, P.R. (2008). Try to Remember: Psychiatry’s Clash Over Meaning, Memory, and Mind. Dana Press 135.
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[10] Between 1989 and 1995 24 states had amended their laws
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[11] Holmes, D.S. (1990). The evidence for repression: An examination of sixty years of research. In J.L. Singer (Ed.). Repression and Dissociation: Implications for Personality, Theory, Psychopathology, and Health (pp. 85-102). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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[12] "[Unconscious] processes have been described in different terms by different authorities. Janet thought that the mechanism responsible for denying conscious access to certain mental contents was dissociation (his term was actually desagregation), while Freud postulated the concept of repression. Both processes were held to deny certain mental contents to phenomenal awareness and voluntary control. Both assume the existence of a psychological unconscious, by which percepts, memories, and thoughts denied to conscious awareness could nevertheless exert a palpable impact on ongoing experience and action"
Kilstrom, J.F. & Hoyt, I.P. (1990). Repression, Dissociation, and Hypnosis. In J.L. Singer (Ed.), Repression and dissociation: Implications for personality theory, psychopathology, and health (pp 181-208). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. Retrieved on March 31, 2009 from Repression, Dissociation, and Hypnosis.
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[13] Thigpen, C.H, & Cleckley, H.M. (1957). Three Faces of Eve. New York: McGraw Hill.
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[14] Schreiber, F.R. (1973). Sybil. New York: Warner Books.
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[15] Before 1980 there were approximately 200 cases of multiple personality disorder in all of recorded history in the world.(Multiple personality disorder is an extreme example of belief in repressed memories. The notion is that the person not only has amnesia for the trauma but that he or she develops additional personalities. An alter personality can remember the trauma even though the person does not.) By the mid 1990s there were thousands and thousands. Some proponents of recovered memories claimed that one tenth of the population of the United States was affected. Piper, A. (1998, May/June). Multiple personality disorder: Witchcraft survives in the Twentieth Century. Skeptical Inquirer, 44-50.
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[16] Pope, H.G., Poliakoff, M.B., Parker, M.P. Boynes, M. & Hudson, J.I. (2007). Is dissociative amnesia a culture-bound syndrome? Psychological Medicine, 37, 225-233.
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[17] See, e.g., Schacter, D. (2001). The Seven Sins of Memory. New York: Houghton Mifflin; (1995). Questions and answers about memories of childhood abuse. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association; Bonanno, G.A. (1990). Remembering and psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, 27,175; Kihlstrom, J.F. (1998). Id at 1; Loftus, E. (1993). Id; Schacter, D. (Ed.). (1995). Memory distortion: How minds, brains, and societies reconstruct the past. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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[18] Gleitman, H. (1993). Closing comments. Talk presented at Memory and Reality: Emerging Crisis, Valley Forge, PA, April 18.
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[19] Lipton, A. (1999). Recovered memories in the courts. In Sheila Taub (Editor). Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse: Psychological, Social, and Legal Perspectives on A Contemporary Mental Health Controversy. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, Publisher, Ltd.
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[20] See, e.g., Bruner, J. (1994). The 'remembered' self." In U. Neisser, & R. Fivush (Eds.). The Remembering Self: Construction and Accuracy in the Self Narrative. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 41-54; Campbell, T.W. (1992). Therapeutic relationships and iatrogenic outcomes: The blame-and-change maneuver in psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, 29, 474-480; Spence, D.P. (1994). Narrative truth and putative child abuse. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 42(4), 289-303.
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[21] Polusney, M.A., & Follette, V.M. (1996). Remembering childhood sexual abuse: A national survey of psychologists’ clinical practices, beliefs, and personal experiences. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 27, 41-52; Mai, F.M. (1995). Psychiatrists' attitudes to multiple personality disorder: A questionnaire study. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 40,154-157; Poole, D.A., Lindsay, D.S. Memon, S. & Bull, B. (1995). Psychotherapy and the recovery of memories of childhood sexual abuse: U.S. and British practitioners’ opinions, practices and experiences. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63(3), 426-437; Rogers, M. (1993). Survey results of therapist personal background, experience, knowledge base and attitudes. Paper presented at Memory and Reality: Emerging Crisis, FMSF Conference, Vally Forge, PA., April 16-18, 1993; Yapko, M. (1994). Suggestibility and repressed memories of abuse: A survey of psychotherapists’ beliefs. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 36, 163-171.
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[22] Yapko, M. (1994). Id at 19.
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[23] e.g. Lilienfeld, S.O., Lynn, S.J., & Lohr, J.M. (Eds.). (2003). Science and pseudoscience in clinical psychology. New York: Guilford.
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[24] American Medical Association: Report of the Council on Scientific Affairs. (1994). C.S.A. Report 5-A-94. Memories of childhood abuse. Action of the AMA House of Delegates 1994 Annual Meeting.
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[25] See, e.g., Lindsay, D.S. & Read, J.D. (1995). Id at 6.
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[26] See, e.g., Dawes, R.M. (1989). Experience and the validity of clinical judgment: The illusory correlation. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 7, 457-467; Horner, T.M., Guyer, M.J. & Kalter, N.N. (1993). The biases of child sexual abuse experts: Believing is seeing. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, 21(3), 281-292; Lindsay, S. & Read, J.D. (1995). Id.
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[27] See Exhibit 2 for many examples from the statements of the professional organizations. These statements remain in effect in 2009.
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[28] For example, following are a few settlements and awards exceeding $1 million in recovered memory malpractice cases: Some Jury Awards: HAMANNE v. HUMENANSKY, U.S. Dist. Ct., 2nd Dist., MN, No. C4-94-203. In 1995, jury awarded over $2.46 million to a woman after finding psychiatrist negligently failed to meet recognized standards and directly caused injury. Woman sought treatment for anxiety after a move, but was diagnosed with MPD and told she experienced childhood sexual and ritual abuse despite contrary evaluations and lack of memories of abuse. Treatment included hypnosis, guided imagery, sodium amytal, antidepressants, lengthy hospitalizations. No informed consent. Also awarded $200,000 to husband for loss of consortium. CARLSON v. HUMENANSKY, Dist. Ct., 2nd Dist., MN, No. CX-93-7260. In 1996, unanimous jury verdict found that the psychiatrist failed to meet recognized medical standards and directly caused injury. Awarded $2.5 million. Woman had entered therapy for depression and marital problems but claimed therapy caused her to develop false memories of childhood sexual and ritual abuse. Treatment included sodium amytal, guided imagery, hypnosis. CARL v. KERAGA, U.S. Federal Ct., Southern Dist., Tex., Case No.H-95-661. In 1997, jury found remaining defendant 24 percent percent liable (individually and through her corporation) for injury to patient. Awarded $5.8 million. Several jurors said they were concerned about failure to warn of the risks of treatment. Woman claims she was misdiagnosed MPD and told she had over 500 personalities to cope with childhood abuse, ritual murder, cannibalism, and torture. She was instructed to report herself to the police as a child molester, even though she had no memory of ever abusing her own children. Her teenage children were also hypnotized and told they were victims of a cult. All but 2 of other 25 defendants settled out of court prior to trial. SAWYER v. MIDDELFORT, 1999 Wisc. 595 N.W.2d 423. Jury verdict March 16, 2001. After a three-week trial and 10 hours of deliberations, a jury awarded Thomas and Delores Sawyer $5.08 million in a third-party lawsuit against their daughter's former therapists. The Sawyers had been accused of sexual and physical abuse by their daughter, Nancy, who was deceased. In 1998, the case had been dismissed on summary judgment but was revived in a decision by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals in 1998. In 1999, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the third-party claims in this suit should not have been dismissed. The court emphasized that the parents could sue their daughter's therapist for injuries caused directly by the false allegations, but not for the "loss of society and companionship" of their daughter. Some Settlements; FULTZ v. CARR and WALKER, Circuit Ct., Multnomah Co., OR, No. 9506-04080. In 1996, two treating therapists settled out of court, one for $1.57 million, the other for a confidential amount. Patient had sought help for mild depression and weight problems, but she claims the therapists misdiagnosed childhood sexual and ritual abuse and MPD. Her preschool children were also treated and persuaded they were abused by a cult. The treating therapist assisted in obtaining restraining order against patient's parents and siblings. RUTHERFORD v. STRAND et al, Circuit Ct., Green Co. MO, No. 1960C2745. In 1996, a church in Missouri agreed to pay $1 million to a woman and her family who said that under the guidance of a church counselor, the woman came to believe that her father had raped her, impregnated her, and performed a coat-hanger abortion -- when, in fact, she was still a virgin and her father had had a vasectomy. COOL v. OLSON, Circuit Ct., Outagamie Co., Wisc. No. 94CV707. In 1997, after 15 days of courtroom testimony, defendant agreed to settle for $2.4 million. Testimony described how psychiatrist induced horrific false memories of childhood sexual and ritual abuse, including demonic possession and misdiagnosed MPD. Therapy techniques included hypnosis, age regression, exorcism, and drugs that caused hallucinations. The patient had originally entered therapy for bulimia and help after a traumatic event had befallen family. BURGUS v. BRAUN, Rush-Presbyterian, Circuit Ct., Cook Co., IL, No. 91L08493/93L14050. In 1997, on the day scheduled for trial, a $10.6 million settlement was finalized. The patient originally sought treatment for postpartum depression but was diagnosed MPD as result of supposed childhood sexual and ritual abuse including cannibalism, torture. She claims psychiatrist utilized suggestive techniques but failed to obtain informed consent. Her preschool age children also were hospitalized, diagnosed MPD, and treated for SRA. GALE V. RUSH-PRESBYTERIAN-St. Luke’s Medical Center et al., Circuit Court Cook County, Ill No. 03 L 12779. In 2004, received a settlement of $7.5 million. Ms. Gale was placed in deep hypnotic trances and came to believe she had been programmed by a satanic cult. The case settled even before depositions were taken, perhaps because Gale had videotapes of the hypnotic sessions. JOHN DOE V. RUSH PRESBYTERIAN, Il Circuit. Ct. No. 01 L 343. In 2004, John Doe received a $5.25 million settlement. The doctors’ "treatment" consisted of searching for hidden traumatic memories. John Doe came to believe that his mother, father, and grandparents had sexually abused him and that he had been a member of a secret satanic cult.
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[29] "Important: You are not eligible for coverage under our new professional liability program if one or more of the following (Points A through D) apply to you: (B You use hypnotherapy to assist clients in recovering failed or repressed memories of possible abuse);" "Mental Health Practitioner’s Application." (1996, January 15). Rockport Insurance Associates, administrator for United Professional Liability Purchasers Group Inc., underwritten by Prudential National Insurance Co. See also: Hammar, R.R. (2001, Summer). Creating "false memories" of childhood sexual abuse. Clergy, Church & Law. 88.
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[30] Taus v Loftus, Case No, S133805, Supreme Court of Califormia, Solano County, 2005.
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[31] Barden, R.C. (2006) Amicus Curiae Brief of the National Committee of Scientists for Academic Liberty, for Defendants and Appellants, Elizabeth Loftus, et al. California Supreme Court.
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[32] McNally, R.J. (2003). Progress and controversy in the study of post-traumatic stress disorder. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 229-252.
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[33] Pope, H.G. and Hudson, J.I. (1995). Can memories of childhood sexual abuse be repressed? Psychological Medicine, 25, 121-126.
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[34] Eisen, M.L. & Lynn, S.J. (2001). Dissociation, memory and suggestibility in adults and children. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 15, S49-S73. (S65)
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[35] Ghetti, S., Edelstein, R.S., Goodman, G.S., Cordon, I.M., Quas, J.A., Alexander, K.W., Redlich, A.D. & Jones, D.P.J. (2006). What can subjective forgetting tell us about memory for childhood trauma? Memory & Cognition 34(5), 1011-1025.
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[36] Williams, L.M. (1994). Recall of childhood trauma: A prospective study of women’s memories of child sexual abuse. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 62, 1167-1176.
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[37] Loftus, E.F., Garry, M. & Feldman, J. (1994). Remembering Sexual Abuse: What does it mean when 38 percent percent Forget? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 62(6), 1177-1181.
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[38] Femina, D, Yeager, C., & Lewis, D.O.(1990). Child abuse: Adolescent records vs. adult recall. Child Abuse & Neglect, 14, 227-231.
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[39] Goodman, G.S., Ghetti, S., Quas, J.A., Edelstein, R.S., Alexnder, K.W. et al. (2003). A prospective study of memory for child sexual abuse: New findings relevant to the repressed-memory controversy. Psychological Science, 14, 113-118.
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[40] Clancy, S. McNally, R. (2005-6). Id at 6.
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[41] Porter, S., Peace, K.A. (2007). The scars of memory: A prospective, longitudinal investigation of the consistency of traumatic and positive emotional memories in adulthood. Psychological Science, 18(5), 435-440.
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[42] Howe, M.L., Cicchetti, D. & Toth, S.L. (2006). Children’s basic memory processes, stress, and maltreatment. Development and Psychopathology, 18, 759-769.(766)
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[43] Corwin, D.L. & Olafson, E. (1997). Videotaped discovery of a reportedly unrecallable memory of child sexual abuse: Comparison with a childhood interview videotaped 11 years before. Child Maltreatment, 2, 91-112.
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[44] Loftus, E.F. & Guyer, M. (2002a, May/June). Who abused Jane Doe? The hazards of the single case history: Part I. Skeptical Inquirer, 26, 24-32; Loftus, E.F. & Guyer, M. (2002b, July/Augus). Who abused Jane Doe? The hazards of the single case history: Part II. Skeptical Inquirer, 26, 37-40.
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[45] Brown, D., Scheflin, A., & Hammond, C. (1998). Memory, Trauma Treatment and the Law. New York: Norton.
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[46] Brown, D., Scheflin, A., & Whitfield, C. (1999). Recovered memories: The current weight of the evidence in science and in the courts. Journal of Psychiatry & Law, 27, 5-156.
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[47] Piper A., Pope H.G., Borowiecki J.J. (2000), Custer's last stand: Brown, Scheflin, and Whitfield's latest attempt to salvage "dissociative amnesia." Journal of Psychiatry and Law, 28(2), 149-214.
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[48] The testimony of Daniel Brown has come under criticism in the courts. Most recently in Doe v Vella, U.S. Dist. Ct. D. Neb., No. 8:04-cv-00269, Brown was accused of misrepresentation and a $1.75 million judgment was vacated. He was among those proponents whose expert "repressed memory" testimony was rejected in the fully litigated Hungerford, Quattrocchi and Bourgelais cases.
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[49] See Exhibit II. Pope, H.G., Oliva, P.S. & Hudson, J.I. (2002). Scientific status of research on repressed memories. In D.L. Faigman, D.H.Kaye, M.J.Saks & J. Sanders (Eds.) Modern Scientific Evidence. St. Paul, MN: West Group.
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[50] The Pope research has been criticized on the grounds that people in the studies were not specifically evaluated for "repressed memory." That is true, but if "repressed memory" were a genuine phenomenon, one would surely find at least a passing remark that one of the researchers encountered a victim who was unable to remember the event. The complete absence of any mention of even a single clear case of "repression" among 11,000 victims, therefore, cannot be dismissed. Additionally, Kendall-Tackett (1993) reviewed 45 studies of sexual abuse victims involving 3369 total subjects. Although the review describes numerous psychological aftereffects attributed to sexual abuse, there is no mention of repressed memory for any of the 3369 victims. Kendall-Tackett, K.A., Williams, L.M. & Finkelhor, D.(1993). The impact of sexual abuse on children: A review and synthesis of recent empirical studies. Psychological Bulletin, 13. 164-180.
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[51] Anderson, M.C. & Green, C. (2001, March 15). Suppressing unwanted memories by executive control. Nature, 410, 366-369.
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[52] Dr. Pope has been ranked by ISI as one of the 250 most widely cited neuroscientists in the world. He has also been ranked as one of the most 250 widely cited psychologists and psychiatrists in the world. Only 37 scientists in the world made both of these lists. Van der Kolk appears on neither list.
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[53] See for example Caplan, P. (1995). They Say You’re Crazy. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley; and Kirk, S.A. & Kutchins, H. (1992). The Selling of the DSM: The Rhetoric of Science in Psychiatry. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.
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[54] Francis, A. & First, M.B. (1999). Your Mental Health: A Layman’s Guide to the Psychiatrist’s Bible. New York: Scribner.(290)
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[55] Clancy, S. & McNally R. (2005-6). Id at 6.
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[56] Geraerts, E., Arnold, M.M., Lindsay, D.S., Merckelbach, H., Jelicic,M. & Hauser, B. (2006). Forgetting of prior remembering in persons reporting recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse. Psychological Science, 17(11). 1102-1108.
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[57] Ghetti, S., Edelstein, R.S., Goodman, G.S., Cordon, I.M., Quas, J.A., Alexander, K.W., Redlich, A.D. & Jones, D.P.J. (2006). Id at 31.
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[58] Grassian, S. & Holtzen, D. (1996). Memory of sexual abuse by a parish priest. Paper presented at Trauma and Memory: An International Research Conference, July 26-28, University of New Hampshire, Durham.
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[59] Dalenberg, C. (1996). Accuracy, timing and circumstances of disclosure in therapy of recovered and continuous memories of abuse. Journal of Psychiatry & Law, 24(2).229-275.
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[60] We use the word "allegedly" because Dalenberg has refused to supply the data when it was requested. (Personal correspondence with Elizabeth Loftus.)
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[61] Geraerts, E., Schooler, J.W., Merckelbach, H., Jelicic, M. Hauser, B.J.A., & Ambadar, Z. (2007). The reality of recovered memories: Corroborating continuous and discontinuous memories of childhood sexual abuse. Psychological Science, 18(7), 564-568.
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[62] Yapko, M.D. (1994b), Suggestions of Abuse: True and False Memories of Childhood Sexual Trauma. New York: Simon & Schuster, pp. 160, 168.
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[63] Neisser, U. and N. Hersch (1992), "Phantom flashbulbs: False recollections of hearing the news about the Challenger," in Winograd, E. and Neisser, U. (Eds.), Affect and Accuracy in Recall: Studies of Flashbulb Memories, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 9-31.
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[64] The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychiatric Association as an aid to professionals in identifying mental disorders, almost completely omits any discussion of underlying causes of symptoms. The DSM-IV, at xxiii, admonishes that "nonclinical decision makers should be cautioned that a diagnosis does not carry any necessary implications regarding the causes of the individual’s mental disorder or its associated impairments. Inclusion of a disorder in the Classification (as in medicine generally) does not require that there be knowledge about its etiology." Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, task force chairman for the DSM is quoted regarding the DSM: "The emphasis is on description of the problem, not the why and how, because in most cases we don’t really know," in Slovenko, R. (1984). Syndrome evidence in establishing a stressor. Journal of Psychiatry and Law, 12, 443-467, p. 447. See also Slovenko, R. (1995). Psychiatry and Criminal Culpability. New York: Wiley Publishing; Lindsay, D.S. and Read, J.D. (1995). "Memory work" and recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse: Scientific evidence and public, professional and personal issues. Psychology, Public Policy & Law, 1, 846-908.
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[65] For example, Lenore Walker, in her 1988 book, Handbook on Sexual Abuse of Children, Assessment and Treatment Issues, p.77, reports on a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health which was meant to describe the effects of sexual abuse found in a sample of 369 children documented as having been sexually abused. The abused children's behavioral patterns were identified against a 38 item checklist. Only 4 broadly defined behavior patterns (low self esteem, fear of abuse stimuli, emotional upset, nightmares or sleep disorders) were found in over 20 percent percent percent of the children. No one behavior was found in over one-third of the children. 40 percent percent percent of the indicators (withdrawal, eating disorders, violent fantasies, inappropriate peer relationships, age-inappropriate sexual behavior, etc.) were found in less than 10 percent percent of the children.
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[66] See, e.g., Kendall-Tackett, K.A., Williams, L.M. and Finkelhor, D. (1993). "Impact of sexual abuse on children: A review and synthesis of recent empirical studies," Psychological Bulletin, 113, 164-180; Krystal, H. (1991). "Integration and self-healing in post-traumatic states: A ten-year retrospective." American Imago, 48(1), 93-118.
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[67] American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Id. The DSM-IV lists four additional factors to be considered as well.
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[68] Halleck, S., et al. (1992). The use of psychiatric diagnoses in the legal process: Task Force Report of the American Psychiatric Association. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law, 20(4), 481-499 at 495.
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[69] See, e.g., McNally, R.J. (2005).Id at 6; Clancy, S.A. & McNally, R.J. (2005-6). Id at 6; Brainerd, C.J. and Reyna, V.F. (2005). Id at 6; McGaugh, J.L. (2003).Id at 6; Frankel, F.H. (1993). Id at 6; Holmes, D. (1990). Id at 6; Lindsay, D.S. & Read, D.S. (1995). Id at 6; Lindsay, D.S. & Read, J.D. (1994). Id at 6; McNally, R.J. (2003).Id at 6; Pendergrast, M. (1996). Id at 6; Pope, H.G. & Hudson, J.I. (1995).Id at 6; Pope, H.G., et al.(1999).Id at 6; Tillman, J.G., M.R. Nash, M.R. & P.M. Lerner, P.M. (1994).Id at 6.
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[70] Daubert v. Merrell-Dow Pharmaceuticals. U.S. Supreme Court, December 2, 1992. No. 92-102.
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[71] A classic example is the "false positive" obtained by a Florida police department whose radar clocked a grove of trees going at 86 miles per hour. Reported in Smith, D., & Tomerline, J. (1990). Beating the Radar Rap. Chicago: Bonus Books.
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[72] For a clear explanation of error rate in the context of "repressed" memories, see Exhibit 4 (Chapter 5) from Pope, H. Jr. (1997). Psychology Astray: Fallacies in Studies of "Repressed Memory" and Childhood Trauma. Boca Raton, FL: Upton Books.
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[73] Brown, D. (2007, October 29). Affidavit submitted in Doe v Vella, U.S. Dist. Ct. D. Neb., No. 8:04-cv-00269.
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[74] Barden, R.C. (2006) Amicus Curiae Brief of the National Committee of Scientists for Academic Liberty, for Defendants and Appellants, Elizabeth Loftus, et al. California Supreme Court. With AMICI Aaron T. Beck, Harrison G. Pope Jr., Richard McNally, James I. Hudson, Richard Ofshe, William M. Grove, Paul R. McHugh, Robert Perloff, Stephen J. Ceci, Henry L. Roediger, August Piper, B. Christopher Frueh, Steve Lynn, Peter von Koppen, John F. Kihlstrom, Gerald M. Rosen, Sally Satel, Maryanne Gary, Hans F. M. Cromberg, David F. Bjorkland, Phillip W. Esplin, James M. Wood, Richard Gist, Irving Kirsch, Steven Hayes, James D. Herbert, Robert Montgomery, Harald Merckelbach, James Ost, Scott O. Lillienfeld, Marc Sageman, Grant J. Devilly, Anthony Pratkamis, Jon D. Elhai, Timothy Tumlin, D. Stephen Lindsay, Paul A. Ornstein, Susan C. Clancy, John W. Bush, Paul R. Lees-Haley, Howard D. Eisman, Mark Creamer, W. Jake Jacobs, Timothy Moore, Daniel David, Margaret Bruck, Amina Memon, Jeffrey M. Lohr, Giuliana Mazzoni, Jean-Roch Laurence, Elizabeth Meadows, Ron Acierno, Steven E. Clark, Saul Kassin, Richard Shiffrin, Michael Toglia, Robert V Kail, J. Don Read, Loren Pankratz,Michael A. Persinger, Debra Poole, Charles A. Weaver, III, Joseph de Rivera, David S. Holmes, Terence W. Campbell, Emily Carota Orne, John Cannell, Howard Fishlman, Richard A. Leo, Deborah C. Beidel, James Coyne, Fred Frankel, Nora S. Newcombe, Gordon J.G. Asmundson, Howard N. Garb, William G. Reiner, Mahzarin Rustum Banaji, Robyn M. Dawes, Robert A, Karlin, Harold I. Lief, Daniel L. Schacter, Steven Pinker, Naomi Breslaw and others.
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