Further Study – Academic

Multiple Personalities, Trauma and Memory

Dissociative Identity Disorder: A Controversial Diagnosis. "The diagnosis of DID is controversial. Reported cases of DID by Frankel, Ganaway, and McHugh, among others, have been attributed instead to social contagion, hypnotic suggestion, and misdiagnosis. These authors have argued that the patients described as having DID are highly hypnotizable, and therefore are very suggestible. They argue that these patients likely would be prone to follow direct or implicit hypnotic suggestions, and that the majority of diagnoses of DID are made by a few specialist psychiatrists."

Debunking Myths About Trauma and Memory: When the science is interpreted properly, the evidence shows that traumatic events—those experienced as overwhelmingly terrifying at the time of their occurrence—are highly memorable and seldom, if ever, forgotten.

Recovering Memories of Trauma: A View From the Laboratory: “The controversy over the validity of repressed and recovered memories of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) has been extraordinarily bitter. Yet data on cognitive functioning in people reporting repressed and recovered memories of trauma have been strikingly scarce. Recent laboratory studies have been designed to test hypotheses about cognitive mechanisms that ought to be operative if people can repress and recover memories of trauma or if they can form false memories of trauma. Contrary to clinical lore, these studies have shown that people reporting CSA histories are not characterized by a superior ability to forget trauma-related material. Other studies have shown that individuals reporting recovered memories of either CSA or abduction by space aliens are characterized by heightened proneness to form false memories in certain laboratory tasks. Although cognitive psychology methods cannot distinguish true memories from false ones, these methods can illuminate mechanisms for remembering and forgetting among people reporting histories of trauma.”

Inter-Identity Autobiographical Amnesia in Patients with Dissociative Identity Disorder: Though dissociative amnesia is a major symptom for identification of Dissociative Identity Disorder, this study indicates that those diagnosed with DID do transfer information between identities.

Psychophysiological Responding During Script-Driven Imagery in People Reporting Abduction by Space Aliens: Despite the claim that a false memory can not imitate actual trauma, this research shows that traumatic false memories of abduction by extraterrestrials do manifest the physiological responses of real, corroborated traumas.

The Scientific Status of Childhood Dissociative Identity Disorder: A Review of Published Research: “[…] little convincing evidence exists concerning the prevalence, etiology or diagnostic validity of childhood DID. Considering the results of this review, more research is needed before DID in childhood can be considered anything other than an extremely rare and poorly understood phenomenon that was briefly the object of intense scientific interest and speculation.”

Dissociative Identity Disorder: Time to Remove It from DSM-V? Examining the Logic Behind Arguments to Perpetuate a Controversial Diagnosis: “A DID diagnosis has been blamed for misdiagnosis of other entities, patient mismanagement, and inadequate treatment of depression. Even when DID is treated with the best of intentions, undesired negative effects may result from psychotherapy, and some patients experience worsening of symptoms and/or deterioration of functioning.”

Dissociation and Dissociative Disorders: Challenging Conventional Wisdom: “In contrast to the posttraumatic model, the sociocognitive model proposes that DID is a consequence of social learning and expectancies. This model holds that DID results from inadvertent therapist cueing (e.g., suggestive questioning regarding the existence of possible alters, hypnosis for memory recovery, sodium amytal), media influences (e.g., television and film portrayals of DID), and sociocultural expectations regarding the presumed clinical features of DID.”
The Persistence of Folly: A Critical Examination of Dissociative Identity Disorder. Part I. The Excesses of an Improbable Concept: “The literature shows that 1) there is no proof for the claim that DID results from childhood trauma; 2) the condition cannot be reliably diagnosed; 3) contrary to theory, DID cases in children are almost never reported; and 4) consistent evidence of blatant iatrogenesis appears in the practices of some of the disorder’s proponents.”
The Persistence of Folly: Critical Examination of Dissociative Identity Disorder. Part II. The Defence and Decline of Multiple Personality or Dissociative Identity Disorder: “We also examine the harm done to patients by DID proponents’ diagnostic and treatment methods. It is shown that these practices reify the alters and thereby iatrogenically encourage patients to behave as if they have multiple selves.”
False Memory Propensity in People Reporting Recovered Memories of Past Lives: “According to one sociocognitive model of false memories, certain personality traits foster reports of implausible memories. High levels of absorption (i.e., rich imaginative capabilities) and magical ideation (i.e., endorsement of unconventional modes of thinking) may make one vulnerable to developing false autobiographical memories.”
The Science and Folklore of Traumatic Amnesia: “Some clinical theorists believe that certain experiences are so overwhelmingly traumatic that many victims dissociate their memory for the experience (Cleaves, Smith, Butler, & Spiegel, this issue). Unfortunately, clinicians who endorse this hypothesis often exhibit confusion about the very studies they cite in support of it. For example, they often misinterpret everyday forget-fulness that develops after a trauma with an inability to remember the trauma itself; they confuse organic amnesia with traumatic amnesia; they confuse psychogenic amnesia (massive non-organic retrograde amnesia coupled with loss of personal identity) with (alleged) inability to remember a traumatic event; and they confuse not thinking about something (e.g., sexual abuse) for a long period of time with an inability to remember it (i.e., amnesia). The purpose of this commentary is to dispel some of this confusion.”
Forgetting unwanted memories: Directed forgetting and thought suppression methods: Studies on individuals reporting repressed or recovered memories of trauma have not confirmed predictions regarding heightened forgetting skills for trauma-related words. However, recent research on suppressing disturbing autobiographical memories suggests that people who report spontaneously recalling childhood abuse outside of psychotherapy may, indeed, possess skills for not thinking about disturbing material.
Searching for repressed memory: True and false recovered memories: Toward a reconciliation of the debate: “There appears to be no convincing evidence that people can repress (or dissociate) memories of truly traumatic events that they have encoded.  However, some people who experienced childhood sexual molestation in their childhood, but who did not experience the events as traumatic, may forget their abuse for many years, yet recall it upon encountering reminders in adulthood.  Interpreting their molestation through the eyes of an adult, they often experience PTSD symptoms.  Accordingly, people may forget and “recover” memories of abuse that they did not experience as traumatic at the time of their occurrence.  They forget the memories not because they were traumatic and thus “repressed,” but rather because they did not experience them as traumatic at the time they occurred.”

Satanic Panic

The Devil Goes to Day Care: McMartin and the Making of a Moral Panic: “The aim of this present article is to analyze the moral panic about satanic day care centers that spread across this country during the 1980s.”

The Creation of Satanic Ritual Abuse: “The seeming cross-corroboration of children’s and adult survivors’ claims at first led many open-minded professionals, including clinicians and journalists, to believe that abusive satanic cults actually existed and were a serious threat to society. More recently, however, these beliefs have been effectively at tacked by skeptics, and ritual abuse is now viewed by many professionals to be part of a more general tendency of certain individuals, especially clients of certain psychotherapists, to manufacture memories of abuse that never occurred”

The Satanic Ritual Abuse Panic as Religious-Studies Data: “Rumors and alleged memories of Satanic cult activity swept through the U.S. and U.K. during the 1980s and 1990s, confounding scholars of religion, as well as jurists and psychologists, with their combination of tantalizing ritual scenes and dubious forensic evidence. This essay discusses the work done on these Satanic cult claims since the early 1990s in a variety of academic fields; and it critiques some of the scholarly responses from the field of Religious Studies in particular.

Satanic Cult Rumors as Contemporary Legend: “People claimed to have seen things that did not exist and to have knowledge of events that did not occur.”

Investigators Guide to Allegations of “Ritual” Child Abuse: “We now have hundreds of victims alleging that thousands of offenders are abusing and even murdering tens of thousands of people as part of organized satanic cults, and there is little or no corroborative evidence. The very reason many “experts” cite for believing these allegations (i.e., many victims, who never met each other, reporting the same events), is the primary reason I began to question at least some aspects of these allegations. “

Conspiracy Theories

How Conspiracy Theories Spread Online

Brain Overclaim Syndrome

Brain Overclaim Syndrome and Criminal Responsibility: A Diagnostic Note