From: Will Bueche <willb3d.nul> Date: Fri, 08 Nov 2002 14:32:37 -0500 Archived: Fri, 08 Nov 2002 14:20:32 -0500 Subject: Re: Starship Memories >From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul> >- UFO UpDates Subscribers - >Date: Fri, 08 Nov 2002 08:15:41 -0500 >Subject: Starship Memories >Source: The Harvard Gazette >http://www.hno.harvard.edu/gazette/2002/10.31/09-clancy.html >Starship Memories: >"Alien abductees" provide clues to repressed, recovered memories >Susan Clancy's research has taken her into alien territory. ><snip> >Yet the recovered-memory abductees as a group were much more >likely to falsely remember the word sweet - not on the list, but >suggested by it - than either of the other two groups. In this >laboratory test, the recovered-memory group was more prone than >the other two groups to create false memories. As one who participated in both Clancy's study and another study by her supervisor, Richard McNally, I'd like to make a statement. I am not a psychologist, but it seems evident that what Clancy's study proved was that experiencers are more likely to create word associations than non-experiencers. The article uses the term "memory" rather freely, suggesting that when one is attempting to recal a list of words (her study's experiment), a greater error rate is equivalent to "the creation of false memories." To my view, this is an exaggeration of the term. One could probably select different groups of people from different professions (some theater people and some business managers perhaps) and we'd likely see the same sort of variation. To attempt to connect this word association test to alien encounter experiences is rather ludicrous. Now I'd like to blow her out of the water by saying something that I probably should not, since a standard policy of research is to never reveal results until a paper is published. But her colleague Richard McNally, who is a nice guy even if he suspects that sleep paralysis might explain alien encounters (he makes this assumption because it sounds similar, not because he's seen any evidence supporting that which would convince someone beyond a reasonable doubt), engaged in an unrelated study at Harvard of alien encounter experiencers which has yet to be published. Indeed they shared some of the same subjects, since it was convenient to do so. McNally's study, unlike Clancy's, directly studied reports of alien encounters by comparing the physiological responses of experiencers (their skin conductivity, for example, I gather) measured while they were listening to a narrative of their own encounter experiences, compared to a vast database cataloguing the physiological responses of Vietnam combat veterans (who were recorded earlier at Harvard's facility in New Hampshire). These comparison made sense because both parties have been through trauma, with experiencers fulfilling most, though fortunately not all, of the scores for post-traumatic stress disorder (as measured on a separate, written exam). In this study, the physiological responses that mark a real traumatic experience are measured by devices attached to the subjects' bodies. Since the Veterans' combat experiences were known to be real, the pattern of physiological responses has for years been considered one of the ways to determine authenticity of experience. Simply put, a dream or a fantasy doesn't create the same physiological responses, as recorded by the machines. Richard McNally's study expected that experiencers' responses would indicate that their experiences were not the deep seated kind of experiences that would cause the body to react. What he found thus far was quite different. What he found was that experiencers responses are equivalent to the responses of the veterans. The implications of his study is - if one does not believe that alien encounters are authentic - then this very set up of measuring physiological responses must be discarded, as we will have to redefine such responses as symptoms of both reality AND fantasy -- based wholly on the assumption that alien encounters cannot possibly be real. It is a lovely situation that McNally is about to put the scientific world into. (To my knowledge, his paper has not been published, but if it has please let me know as I'd love to read it). One final word: I'd like to disclose that I personally came out ahead in participating in these 2 studies: I was paid something like five dollars, and given some free Chinese food. Ah, Chinese... reminds me that while the scientists dabble, I've got to go live my life. And that includes getting some fried rice. Peace out.
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