false memory syndrome

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pages: 208 words: 67,288

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True by Richard Dawkins

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, false memory syndrome, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, Isaac Newton, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, the scientific method

When we think we remember a real incident, we may only be remembering another memory … and so on back to what may or may not have been a real incident originally. Memories of memories of memories can become progressively distorted. There is good evidence that some of our most vivid memories are actually false memories. And false memories can be deliberately planted by unscrupulous ‘therapists’. False memory syndrome helps us understand why at least some of the people who think they have been abducted by aliens claim to have such vivid memories of the incident. What usually happens is that a person becomes obsessed with aliens through reading stories in the newspapers about other alleged abductions. Often, as I said, these people are fans of Star Trek, or other science fiction tales. It is a striking fact that the aliens they think they’ve met usually look very like the ones portrayed in the most recent television fiction about aliens, and they usually do the same kind of ‘experiments’ as have recently been seen on television.

., 256 clocks and watches, 243–4 clouds, 141–2 coaches, 19, 23–4, 26, 31, 238–9, 253 coal, 141–2, 192 Coatlicue, 125–6 coin tossing, 222, 224–6 coincidence, 238, 241–3, 251 colours, 90, 151–8, 169–72, 176 comets, 115–17, 181 Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur, 246–7 conjurors, 20–1, 252 continental drift, 208, 210 continents, 205–9, 210, 212 convection currents, 211–12, 213 Crick, Francis, 17–18 cricket, 224–6 crystals, 80–3, 84, 88, 90 Darwin, Charles: on evolution, 27, 29–30; Galapagos visit, 67–8; on natural selection, 29–30, 74, 227, 229; tree picture, 60–1, 64 dates, 45–6, 93 day–night cycle, 100–2, 106–7 death, 217 Demeter, 102–3 Democritus, 79 Devil, 220, 247 dialects, 62, 64, 71 diamond, 80–1, 82, 88 dinosaurs, 12, 13, 14, 50, 137 disease, 217–20, 231–5 distance, measuring, 166–8 diversity, 57–8 DNA, 16–18, 50–3, 64–5, 67, 70, 73 Dogon tribe, 217 dogs, 18, 59, 156, 217, 233 dolphins, 72, 149, 197 Doppler, Christian, 175–6 Doppler shift, 173, 175–6, 188 dreams, 184, 241–3 Dreamtime, 100 duck-billed platypus, 49, 198 dust mites, 96 Earth: axis, 104–5, 111, 118–20; centre, 85, 212; convection currents, 212, 213; orbit, 103, 108–9, 115, 118–19, 134, 166–7, 191; sea-floor spreading, 210–12; spinning, 103–5; tectonic plates, 209–14, 223 earthquakes: causes, 208, 213–14, 223; diseases, 219; experiences of, 200–1; myths, 202–5 Eden, 36 Egyptian religion, 127 electrons, 87–9, 91–3, 171 elements, 78, 79, 92–3, 133–4, 170–2 ellipses, 113–15, 117 emotions, 18 energy, 138–43 Eta Carinae, 130, 133–4 Europa, 190, 191 evaporation, 141 evolution: auto-immune diseases, 235; Galapagos islands, 67–71; gene pools, 74–5; gradual, 26–7; languages, 57, 63–5, 66, 68, 71; natural selection, 30–1, 68, 70, 75, 227–9; pregnancies, 233; selective breeding, 28–9; tree picture, 61 eyes, 194–7 faces, seeing, 240 fairies, photographs of, 245–6 fairy godmother, 23–4 false memory syndrome, 183, 185 Fatima, miracle of, 247–9 Feynman, Richard, 243 fish, 40–1, 43, 48, 50, 66, 198 fossils, 13, 43–5, 60, 93 Franklin, Rosalind, 18 frogs, 23, 26, 27–31, 50, 52, 66 fungi, 140, 230 Galapagos islands, 67–71 galaxies, 13, 14, 165–8, 172–3, 176–7 gas giants, 190 gases, 79, 83, 85, 89 gene: flow, 64, 66, 73; pool, 73–5 genes, 16–17, 29–30, 51–3, 68, 71, 73–5 genus, 59–60 ghost stories, 240–1 Gilgamesh, 146–8, 149 Gliese 581, 191–2 gold, 79, 81, 82, 192 Goldilocks zone, 191–3 Gondwana, 206 gravity, 109, 111–12, 115–16, 129–32, 141, 192 Greek: medicine, 218–19; myths, 102, 127, 163 Griffiths, Frances, 245–6 Grimm, the Brothers, 19 Hades, 102–3 Haiti, earthquake, 200, 214 Hale–Bopp comet, 181 Halley’s Comet, 117 hallucinations, 184, 249, 250–1 health, 219 Heaven’s Gate cult, 181 Hebrew myths, see Jewish myths Helios, 116, 127, 131 helium, 131, 132, 133 herbivores, 139–40, 142 heredity, 16 hibernation, 108 Himalayas, formation, 207, 213 Hippocrates, 218–19 Homo erectus, 42–3, 60 Homo sapiens, 42–3, 59–60 Hopi people, 57 Hubble, Edwin, 173 Hubble shift, 173 Hubble telescope, 14, 173 Huitzilopochtli, 125–6 Hume, David, 244–5, 246, 248, 250–2 humours, four, 219 hunter-gatherers, 46–7 hydrogen: atom, 92; element, 79; octane, 94; stars, 129, 131–2, 133 iguanas, 66–70 immune system, 231–5 Inca religion, 124, 126 incubus, 185–6 Indian myths, 163 insects, 57, 69, 157, 195 ions, 82 iron, 79, 81, 82, 85, 88, 133–4, 192 islands, 65–71 isotopes, 44–5, 93 Jackson, Michael, 240, 241 Japan: earthquake and tsunami, 200–1; earthquake myths, 204 Jericho, walls of, 202–3 Jesus, 239, 252, 253–4 Jewish myths: Adam and Eve, 35–6, 58, 220; creation, 58, 127; naming the animals, 59; Noah’s Ark, 147–8; Sodom and Gomorrah, 202; Tower of Babel, 56 Jupiter, 129, 135, 136, 188, 190 Kepler, Johannes, 113, 134 lakes, 66, 69, 71 languages, 56–7, 61–5, 66, 71, 74 ‘Law of Averages’, 224–5 lead, 79, 81, 86, 88, 92, 134 lead-206, 45 Lear, Edward, 78 leaves, 138–9, 141, 143 lemurs, 49, 60 light: beams, 90; spectrum, 151–3, 154–9, 168–73; speed of, 14; wavelength, 156–8, 169, 171, 196–7; waves, 176 liquids, 83–4, 89 Lourdes, 218 Lowell, Percival, 191 luck, 223–6 lunar cycles, 121 magic: poetic, 19, 21; stage, 19, 20; supernatural, 19, 20, 25, 238 Magic Circle, 20 mammals, 49–50, 51–3, 60, 72, 107–8, 233 Maori myths, 204 Mars, 129, 136, 190 mass, 91–2 Maya religion, 124, 126 Mayr, Ernst, 57 memories, false, 183, 185 Mendel, Gregor, 16–17, 18 mercury, 79, 85 metals, 79 meteors, 136–7 methane, 85 Mexican Wave, 174 mice, 51, 52, 71 microscopes, 18, 86, 95, 96, 230 migration, 107–8 Milky Way, 14, 35, 148–9, 165–6, 172 miracles: definition, 244; examples, 244–5, 251–5; Fatima, 247–9; Jesus’s, 239, 252–4; playing cards, 25, 251–2; photographs of fairies, 245–6; rumours and traditions, 239–41; supernatural magic, 19, 238; technology and, 255–7; witch trials, 247 mirrors, 90 models, 15–18, 22, 86–8, 164, 177 molecules: atoms in, 80; Buckyballs and Buckytubes, 94–5; colours, 171; diamond crystal, 80, 88; fossils, 44; immune system, 233; miracles, 253; movement, 83–4; waves, 173–4 molybdenum, 79 monkeys, 48–9, 52, 60 moon, 121, 124, 128, 189, 192–3 multiverse, 165 myoglobin, 95 naphthalene, 94 natural selection, 30–1, 68, 70, 75, 193, 227–9 Navajo people, 57 neutron star, 193 neutrons, 91–3 New Guinea, 57, 205 New Zealand: earthquake myths, 204; earthquakes, 201 Newton, Sir Isaac, 109, 151–3, 154, 168–9 newts, 28–30, 31, 50 Nigerian myths, 124, 163 Noah’s Ark, 147–8 Norse myths, 37, 127, 149 North American myths, 57, 102 nucleus, nuclei, 87–9, 91–2, 171, 193 oases, 58, 66, 69, 71 octane, 94 orbits: comets, 115–16, 117; Earth’s orbit, 103, 108–9, 115, 118–19, 134, 166–7, 188, 191; ellipses, 113–14, 117; planets, 109–11, 117, 129, 130–1, 134–5, 187–9; satellites, 111; space station in, 106, 111–12 original sin, 36–7 ozone, 80 Pan Gu myths, 162–3 parallax method, 166–8 paranoia, 229–30 parasites, 140, 228, 230–2, 234 peat, 140–1 Penn and Teller, 20 perihelion, 116, 117, 118, 120 Persephone, 102–3 photons, 90, 121 pilgrimage, 218 Pink Panther, The, 226 planets: detecting, 187–9; distance from star, 191; extra-solar, 187, 189–90, 191; gravitational pull, 129, 192–3; life on other planets, 186–7, 193–8; mass, 192; orbits, 109–11, 117, 129, 130–1, 134–5, 187–9; size, 129, 192; temperature, 85, 191 plate tectonics, 205, 208–11, 223 Pluto, 115, 117, 118, 135 Pollyanna’s Law, 222, 229 Pompeii and Herculaneum, 214 potential energy, 142 predators, 228–9, 230 pregnancy, 232–3 Presley, Elvis, 239, 241 prisms, 151–3, 154, 168–9 protons, 91–3, 171 Proxima Centauri, 14, 128, 130 Pueblo people, 57 pyramids, 126–7 quarks, 93 Quetzalcoatl, 125 radar, 197–8 radio telescope, 13, 15, 158 radio waves, 13, 158, 196–7; modulated, 197 radioactive clocks, 45–6 rainbow: myths, 147–9; real magic, 150–1; spectrum, 152–3, 154–6, 156–9, 168 raindrops, 153–6 Randi, James ‘The Amazing’, 20 red: dwarf, 191; giant, 132; shift, 173, 176, 188 relative movement, 103–5 reptiles, 50 rivers, 141 rocks: age of, 44–5; hardness, 88–9; igneous, 43–4; opacity, 90; pointy, 223; sedimentary, 43–4, 82; types, 43–4 Rowling, J.

 

pages: 404 words: 134,430

Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time by Michael Shermer

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anesthesia awareness, anthropic principle, butterfly effect, cognitive dissonance, complexity theory, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological principle, discovery of DNA, false memory syndrome, Gary Taubes, invention of the wheel, Isaac Newton, laissez-faire capitalism, life extension, Murray Gell-Mann, out of africa, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions

Many other women are now reversing their original claims and filing lawsuits against their therapists. These women have become known as "retractors," and there is now even a therapist retractor (Pendergrast 1996). Lawyers are helping to reverse the feedback loop by holding therapists accountable through the legal system. The positive feedback loop is now becoming a negative one, and thanks to people like Pasley and organizations like the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, the direction of information exchange is reversing. The reversal of the feedback loop was given another boost in October 1995, when a six-member jury in Ramsey County, Minnesota, awarded $2.7 million to Vynnette Hamanne and her husband after a six-week trial about charges that Hamanne's St. Paul psychiatrist, Dr. Diane Bay Humenansky, planted false memories of childhood sexual abuse.

The first problem is that if memory is a product of neuronal connections and our flawed and ever-changing reconstruction of these neuronal connections, how will Omega/God reconstruct something that does not really exist? There is a vast difference between every memory that could be reconstructed and an individual's actual set of memory patterns, the vast majority of which are lost to time. The controversy over false memory syndrome is a case in point. We have very little understanding of how memory works, much less how to reconstruct it. Memories cannot be reconstructed in the sense of playing back a videotape. The event occurs. A selective impression of the event is made on the brain through the senses. Then the individual rehearses the memory and in the process changes it a bit, depending on emotions, previous memories, subsequent events and memories, and so on.

Hilton, I. 1967. Differences in the Behavior of Mothers Toward First and Later Born Children. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 7:282-290. Hobbes, T [1651] 1968. Leviathan. Ed. C. B. Macpherson. New York: Penguin. ......... 1839-1845. The English Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury. Ed. W. Molesworth. 11 vols. London: J. Bohn. Hochman, J. 1993. Recovered Memory Therapy and False Memory Syndrome. Skeptic 2, no. 3:58-61. Hook, S. 1943. The Hero in History: A Study in Limitation and Possibility. New York: John Day. Horner, J. R., and J. Gorman. 1988. Digging Dinosaurs. New York: Workman. House, W. R. 1989. Tales of the Holohoax. Champaign, 111.: John McLaughlin/Wiswell Ruffin House. Hudson, L. 1966. Contrary Imaginations: A Psychological Study of the English Schoolboy. London: Methuen.

 

pages: 176 words: 54,784

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

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false memory syndrome, fear of failure, iterative process, Parkinson's law

For people who were dissatisfied with their lives, these suggestive explanations, combined with the sensationalizing media—there were veritable epidemics of sexual abuse and satanic violence going on, and you could be a victim too—gave people’s unconscious minds the incentive to fudge their memories a bit and explain their current suffering in a way that allowed them to be victims and avoid responsibility. Repressed memory therapy then acted as a means to pull these unconscious desires out and put them into a seemingly tangible form of a memory. This process, and the state of mind it resulted in, became so common that a name was introduced for it: false memory syndrome. It changed the way courtrooms operate. Thousands of therapists were sued and lost their licenses. Repressed memory therapy fell out of practice and was replaced by more practical methods. Recent research has only reinforced the painful lesson of that era: our beliefs are malleable, and our memories are horribly unreliable. There’s a lot of conventional wisdom out there telling you to “trust yourself,” to “go with your gut,” and all sorts of other pleasant-sounding clichés.

 

pages: 357 words: 110,072

Trick or Treatment: The Undeniable Facts About Alternative Medicine by Edzard Ernst, Simon Singh

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Barry Marshall: ulcers, Berlin Wall, correlation does not imply causation, false memory syndrome, Florence Nightingale: pie chart, germ theory of disease, John Snow's cholera map, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, Simon Singh, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method

There is much less research for autogenic training, but the existing evidence is encouraging for anxiety, stress, hypertension, insomnia and some pain syndromes. Hypnotherapy and autogenic training are relatively safe, but they should not be used by people with psychoses or other severe mental problems. With hypnotherapy, the recovery of repressed or false memories can create problems, and cases of false-memory syndrome (i.e. remembering distressing events which, in reality, have never occurred) have been reported. Conclusion The prudent use of hypnotherapy can be helpful for some patients. Whether this is a specific effect of the treatment or a non-specific (placebo) effect is difficult to say. Autogenic training has the added advantage of being an economical self-help approach that maximizes each patient’s own involvement.

 

pages: 341 words: 89,986

Bricks & Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made by Tom Wilkinson

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Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, double helix, experimental subject, false memory syndrome, financial independence, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, housing crisis, Mahatma Gandhi, megacity, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, urban planning

Whether it is ‘authentically Malian’ is a matter of heated debate: even at the time one French observer who had been familiar with the ruins of the original mosque called its replacement ‘a cross between a hedgehog and a church organ’, and said its conical towers made the building resemble ‘a baroque temple dedicated to the god of suppositories’.17 Critics continue to argue that its symmetrical monumentality is a European imposition, and indeed the three towers of the façade, the conical turrets of which are topped with ostrich eggs, do make it look rather like a Gothic cathedral. Could this be an example of the kind of monumental false-memory syndrome – specifically French again – that Ruskin had criticised in 1849, when he argued against Viollet-le-Duc’s overenthusiastic restorations? In any case, whether it is French-colonial or Malian, the Aga Khan Trust determined that the 1907 construction was the ‘authentic’ mosque, and proceeded to strip back the layers of accreted mud that had been added to the building over the last hundred years.

 

pages: 600 words: 174,620

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van Der Kolk M. D.

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anesthesia awareness, British Empire, conceptual framework, deskilling, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, false memory syndrome, feminist movement, impulse control, Louis Pasteur, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, phenotype, placebo effect, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, theory of mind, Yogi Berra

Consciousness-raising groups and survivor groups were formed, and numerous popular books, including The Courage to Heal (1988), a best-selling self-help book for survivors of incest, and Judith Herman’s book Trauma and Recovery (1992), discussed the stages of treatment and recovery in great detail. Cautioned by history, I began to wonder if we were headed toward another backlash like those of 1895, 1917, and 1947 against acknowledging the reality of trauma. That proved to be the case, for by the early 1990s articles had started to appear in many leading newspapers and magazines in United States and in Europe about a so-called False Memory Syndrome in which psychiatric patients supposedly manufactured elaborate false memories of sexual abuse, which they then claimed had lain dormant for many years before being recovered. What was striking about these articles was the certainty with which they stated that there was no evidence that people remember trauma any differently than they do ordinary events. I vividly recall a phone call from a well-known newsweekly in London, telling me that they planned to publish an article about traumatic memory in their next issue and asking me whether I had any comments on the subject.