The use of photographs by psychotherapists as memory cues for the "recovery" of patients possible childhood sexual abuse has been called into question by a Canadian study. It found that a "staggering" two-out-of-three participants accepted a concocted false grade-school event as having really happened to them when suggestions regarding the event were supplemented with a class photo.
"I was flabbergasted to have attained such an exceptionally high rate of quite elaborate false memory reports," says University of Victoria psychology professor Dr. Stephen Lindsay. His NSERC-sponsored research is published in the March 2004 issue of Psychological Science.
Forty-five first year psychology students were told three stories about their grade-school experiences and asked about their memories of them. Two of the accounts were of real grade three to six events recounted to the researchers by the participants parents. The third event was fictitious, but also attributed to the parents. It related how, in grade one, the subject and a friend got into trouble for putting Slime (a colourful gelatinous goo-like toy made by Mattel that came in a garbage can) in their teachers desk.
Dr. Stephen Lindsay | EurekAlert!
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