Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Alien Abduction Tales Offer Clues on Memory

  1. Jun 27, 2004 #1

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member


    I assume this may just be a case of bad reporting but the article appears to say that it can't be so its not. As reported, the logic appears to be completely circular.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2004 #2
    I don't think it's the reporting, but the means of studying the reactions that is circular.

    The point, which is that the strength of people's reactions is not an indicator of the reality of what they're reacting to (feelings aren't facts) is very poorly made here. You can't prove these people's emotional reactions are overblown untill you prove they were never abducted. The logic of this particular study is, indeed, circular and useless.

    I am not sure what the point is anyway. I haven't run into anyone defending the reality of alien abductions based on the strength of the alleged abductees emotions when recounting the story. In other words, if they can pass a lie detector test, all it means is that they're not lying about what they believe happened. The fact they're not lying about what they believe happened doesn't mean that what they believe happened is what actually happened.

    People who are psychotic and hear abusive voices have all these same "real" physiological responses to the hallucinations. They report that the voices are completely real. They would likewise pass a lie detector test if the question were posed as to whether or not the voices were real.
  4. Jun 27, 2004 #3

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Some "experts" do point to this [the emotions and measured stress reactions] as evidence of authentic encounters. I guess is does tend to rule out intentional hoaxes in some cases. To me that alone is significant in that one more potential explanation can be dismissed. It seems that with reasonable confidence we can say that some people genuinely believe that they have been abducted by aliens and that they have real memories of this experience.
  5. Jun 27, 2004 #4
    I don't think it's accurate to call a memory a "real" memory under these circumstances, unless you can prove what was remembered actually happened. "Real" memory could be erroneously construed as the opposite of "false" memory.

    Unfortunately for the abduction believers, the vividness of the memory, and the strength of the alleged abductees' emotions in connection with their memories can't be used as evidence for the objective reality of the experiences. It does say alot about their subjective impact. That has to be recognised.

    I almost always get the impression people I've seen interviewed about this are telling the truth as they know it.
  6. Jun 27, 2004 #5

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I only meant that they believe these to be real memories as opposed to memories of a dream, or a story from a book, for example.
  7. Jul 25, 2004 #6
    more on this subject

    Feeling Is Believing?
    Alien Abductees Reveal How Emotion Can Cloud Reality
    By Lee Dye

    Why did they believe so strongly in something that is so implausible? In answers to a questionnaire, the abductees scored high on personality traits that make them a bit different. For example, just because an idea seems magical doesn't necessarily mean it isn't true.

    People with those traits tend to have "a rich fantasy life, and to endorse unconventional beliefs," the researchers say in their report.

    Most of the participants came from traditional religious backgrounds, but had drifted away.

    "These individuals have strong spiritual needs that are not being met by conventional religions," McNally suggests.


    also of interest is this:

    Man remembers 1949 UFO sighting
    Sunday July 18, 2004


    Source: The Cincinati Post - Ohio

    Professor exposes the aliens among us
    his book:
    "Is ET Here? No Politically, but Yes Scientifically and Theologically"


    then again, people 'believe' in Science==and Stephen Hawking just 'lost his bet' about
    Black holes:
    "There is no baby universe branching off, as I once thought. The information remains firmly in our universe," Hawking said in a speech to about 800 scientists from 50 countries. "I'm sorry to disappoint science fiction fans, but if information is preserved, there is no possibility of using black holes to travel to other universes."

    darn it!

    "It is great to solve a problem that has been troubling me for nearly 30 years, even though the answer is less exciting than the alternative I suggested."


    Hawking Revisits Black Hole Theory
    Collapsed Stars Do Not Destroy Everything They Consume, Astrophysicist Says

    By Shawn Pogatchnik
    Associated Press
    Thursday, July 22, 2004; Page A03
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Alien Abduction Tales Offer Clues on Memory