Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Probing The World Of Alien Abduction Stories

Date:
June 22, 2004
Source:
American Psychological Society
Summary:
When people remember traumatic events, they'll show signs of their distress, like increased heart rate, sweating and muscle tension. Recently, though, a team from Harvard has challenged the significance of these reactions by looking into one of the most widely reported and least likely memories people claim: alien abductions.

When people remember traumatic events, they'll show signs of their distress, like increased heart rate, sweating and muscle tension. These reactions are often seen as a testament to the authenticity of the memory - some have gone so far as to use physical reactions to memories to prove their validity, even when the memory is as far-fetched as ritual abuse by satanic cults. Recently, though, a team from Harvard has challenged the significance of these reactions by looking into one of the most widely reported and least likely memories people claim: alien abductions.

The study, conducted by Richard McNally, Natasha Lasko, Susan Clancy, Michael Macklin, Roger Pitman and Scott Orr at Harvard University, will be published in the July issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society.

The researchers recruited people who reported being abducted and had them describe the alien encounters as well as other stressful, happy, and neutral memories. The researchers converted these stories into 30-second audiotaped narratives and played them for the "abductees" while recording heart rate, sweat production, and facial muscle tension, three strong indicators of stress. The researchers also played the tapes for a control group of people who had no memories of alien encounters.

The researchers found that those who claimed to have been abducted had similarly strong reactions to the stressful narrative and the alien abduction, and weaker reactions to the happy and neutral narratives. The control group barely reacted to any of the stories.

When people believe they've been abducted by aliens, recalling their abduction can evoke reactions not unlike those evoked by a genuine memory that is stressful. This suggests that a person's reaction to a memory doesn't indicate whether the event happened, but only whether the memory, real or not, is traumatic.

###

To read the article, visit http://www.psychologicalscience.org/media.

Psychological Science is ranked among the top 10 general psychology journals for impact by the Institute for Scientific Information. The American Psychological Society represents psychologists advocating science-based research in the public's interest.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Psychological Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Psychological Society. "Probing The World Of Alien Abduction Stories." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 June 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040622012449.htm>.
American Psychological Society. (2004, June 22). Probing The World Of Alien Abduction Stories. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040622012449.htm
American Psychological Society. "Probing The World Of Alien Abduction Stories." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040622012449.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?

AP (Apr. 16, 2014) Pushing the limits on style and self-expression is a rite of passage for teens and even younger kids. How far should schools go with their dress codes? The courts have sided with schools in an era when school safety is paramount. (April 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Couples Who Sleep Less Than An Inch Apart Might Be Happiest

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study by British researchers suggests couples' sleeping positions might reflect their happiness. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins