Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In The Days of My Youth: Why Do Childhood Abduction Memories Seem To Be Clearer In Many Abductees?

Alien Abduction

By David Andrew
© 10-21-10

David Andrew     In speaking with abductees over the years and comparing some of what they shared with me to my own experiences I noticed something odd. A lot of these people including me have some of our clearest and most complete encounter memories from things we experienced as children. This puzzled me greatly because I normally would have thought an adult would notice and remember details and subtleties of their experiences more clearly.

I have already done quite a bit of research in the past on memory and how memories are formed and stored in the human brain. In continuing my research on memory for this particular article, a strange synchronicity presented itself. Just by chance I stumbled upon a relevant article from one of the science related websites I like to visit. The two researchers who authored that article had done research into why The U.S. legal system has long assumed that all testimony is not equally credible and that some witnesses are more reliable than others. More specifically, in tough cases with child witnesses, the U.S. legal system assumes adult witnesses to be more reliable. In the abduction research field, similar assumptions have been made about the reliability of an adult’s memory as opposed to a child’s memory. This assumption about the accuracy of adult memories regarding abduction experiences seemed to be in direct contradiction to what I was finding in my research. Two paragraphs from the article I stumbled upon shed some new light on this contradiction I was finding:

Researchers Valerie Reyna and Chuck Brainerd, both from Cornell University, argue that memories are captured and recorded separately and differently in two distinct parts of the mind. They say children depend more heavily on a part of the mind that records, "what actually happened," while adults depend more on another part of the mind that records, "the meaning of what happened." As a result, they say, adults are more susceptible to false memories, which can be extremely problematic in court cases.

Their research shows that meaning-based memories are largely responsible for false memories, especially in adult witnesses. Because the ability to extract meaning from experience develops slowly, children are less likely to produce these false memories than adults, and are more likely to give accurate testimony when properly questioned.

If the findings of their research are applied to the abduction topic then, it speaks volumes to the question of why life-long abductees seem to have more complete memories from their childhood abduction encounters. Many abduction researchers have long held a belief that perception is largely responsible for some of the wide variations in abduction stories from adults. I have to wonder here if the way an adult mind stores and interprets memories is the reason for these differences in perception. If adults depend more on another part of the mind that records, "the meaning of what happened” and as a result, adults are more susceptible to false memories then, is this factor made even more dramatic through the use of hypnotic regression?

Some abduction researchers have tried to look at childhood abduction stories as part of their research. I think many of them have fallen into the trap of trying to interpret the stories they were told or they have tried to make sense of them by assigning some “meaning” to them. Trying to interview children on the abduction topic can be problematic in our modern day society and it is something I do not advise. I think it is wise to interview potential abductees after they have reached legal adult status. I say this because in some instances it can have legal ramifications and, as adults researching the abduction topic we can inadvertently misinterpret something through our need to understand. There is also the danger of coloring a child’s perception about their experiences with our ideals of the “why” and “what-for” behind the abduction phenomenon.

Personally I think interviewing adults who have had life long abduction experiences and focusing on just their childhood memories could yield previously overlooked correlations. I think such stories should be related and recorded without the use of hypnosis. With a little effort and guidance people can train themselves to be objective when recalling their childhood abduction experiences. If these accounts are related “as is” from abductees and recorded “as is” in an objective manner by researchers, I do think we might move one step closer to understanding the real “why” behind the abduction phenomenon. There may be facts about the abduction phenomenon that have been in front of us all along that have gone unnoticed. Facts that if taken at face value might present themselves more clearly if viewed through the eyes and the mind of a child.

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