UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2002 > Nov > Nov 8

Re: Starship Memories

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

>Starship Memories:
>"Alien abductees" provide clues to repressed, recovered memories

>Susan Clancy's research has taken her into alien territory.


>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.

[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp

Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com