Correspondence to Katharine H. Reprints and Permissions. Wrighton, K. A trip down memory lane. Nat Rev Genet 20, doi Download citation. Advanced search.
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Skip to main content. Rent or Buy article Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube. References Original article Moore, R. Cell , — Article Google Scholar Download references. WI goes down Memory Lane. The charity wants you to host a Dinner Down Memory Lane , and instead of asking guests to bring a bottle or a dessert, ask for a donation instead.
Schools history in your [ A BUS ride down memory lane? As your letter writer found, a bus ride in Birmingham can be more of a nightmare than a trip back into nostalgic history.
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The popular broadcaster joins host Len Goodman for a stroll down memory lane as she chooses her favourite vacation. Mourne again. The critics, though, had another objection. What if the traumas that the recovered-memory group had experienced were horrific enough not only to repress the memory but also to cause cognitive impairment that showed up as memory distortion in the lab? Meanwhile, hate mail started pouring in, in quantities Clancy would eventually measure ''by the ton. The moral dimension of research on child sexual abuse makes it uniquely explosive in psychology, and almost from Day 1 Clancy had, beyond the safe zone of her own department, taken heavy flak for even suggesting that memories of abuse can be faulty.
The simple act of conducting research into the matter struck some as an enterprise ''designed to cheer on child molesters,'' as one anonymous letter writer wrote, ''and ridicules the suffering sustained by children who are abused as well as therapists who are knowledgeable about the effects of trauma on children's minds and bodies.
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Yet another suggested that she was probably an abuser herself. In , when Clancy was invited to give a lecture at Cambridge Hospital, the chairman of the hospital at the time told her that several members of its psychiatric department had protested her appearance. Her colleagues told her that she had probably ruled herself out of future academic positions in any psychology department, Harvard pedigree or no.
Clancy says she thought she could fix the problem by fixing her word-recall test. She was close, she reckoned, but she needed to find a different, methodologically cleaner, subject group than victims of child sexual abuse -- people whose memories virtually everyone could agree were false. But whom? She considered options: people who remembered their own deaths? People who recalled past lives? No, there was just enough doubt in those instances to taint the results.
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She would have to go further afield. If they, too, got high scores, it would establish that there are indeed people who are prone to false memories -- which might eventually help scientists better understand how false memories are created. Finally, she figured, she had the makings of a sound study. Out she went into the community to recruit. For two years, Clancy advertised in bookstores, visited Internet chat rooms and haunted U. At one point, in pursuit of appropriate subjects, she spent three days at a meeting of a group of supposed alien abductees at an old seaside Victorian inn in Newport, R.
She sat in the hot tub with them as they cheerfully told her their stories -- an astonishingly consistent set of narratives involving bright light through bedroom windows, inexplicable time blackouts, encounters with bobble-headed small gray people with large black eyes and, often, invasive sexual medical experimentation. Among themselves, the experiencers talked business. There was a consensus about how stupid and misguided scientists were not to believe their accounts. Someone related a skeptic's theory that the explosion of U.
Clancy smiled through gritted teeth. Finally, she scraped together 11 willing subjects, ran them and a control group through a battery of tests and collated the data, which demonstrated, in her view, that ''individuals who are more prone to develop false memories in the lab are also more likely to develop false memories of experiences that were only suggested or imagined. It sped through the review process and, to her great relief, was published.
Her problems looked to be solved. In a mustard-colored suit -- the only suit he owns -- John Mack stands on the stage of the theater inside Boston's Museum of Fine Arts with a light shining on his face, like a museum exhibit of the moon.
The documentary film ''Touched,'' by Laurel Chiten, a Boston filmmaker, has just received its world premiere, and Chiten and Mack, her main subject, are up there to field questions. Through interviews, the film conveys what it's like to be coerced into sexual congress with alien beings -- and, in at least one case, to become an unwitting participant, apparently, in a kind of intergalactic hybrid breeding program. View all New York Times newsletters.
Mack, a quiet and erudite man, is a veteran of the Harvard medical faculty whose blue-chip career took something of a William Jamesian turn toward the mystical in the 70's. In , he published the book ''Abduction,'' which immediately piqued interest because Mack seemed to accept the abduction phenomenon as literal fact.
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The book was a huge best seller. Mack's Harvard imprimatur jacked the credibility of abduction accounts into another orbit. Clancy's study was, of course, a clear rebuke of the abductee experience -- and it was met with derision at Mack's nonprofit organization, the Center for Psychology and Social Change. Clancy had drawn a number of her test subjects from the institute's ranks, and they may have felt poleaxed by the disarmingly genial researcher who seemed to listen so nonjudgmentally to their tales.
The campaign to discredit Clancy began in earnest. Just who was Susan Clancy, asked another, to challenge the work of people whose theories of memory and trauma were cited by the United Nations when discussing whether recovered memories of torture were admissible as testimony in an international war-crimes tribunal? Some simply viewed Clancy's 11 ''abductees'' as too small a sample size.
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