The British Psychological Society Research Digest weighs in on a study previously reported in Mad in America, showing that psychologist and psychiatrist expert court witnesses were just as poor as lay people at understanding the science of memory and memory distortion. The real problem, the Research Digest states, is that the science itself is unclear. Meanwhile, 1 Boring Old Man points out that the American Psychiatric Association is still suppressing some of the truths about mental health professionals’ promotion of poor memory science.
“A complication with surveys of this kind is that they are premised on the idea that the science of memory is mature enough for there to be a consensus position on the issues raised,” comments Research Digest. “(The study authors) Melinder and Magnussen claim that the ‘correct’ answers in their survey are based on expert surveys, meta-analyses, and research reviews. However, they admit memory science ‘does not have a metric gold standard’.”
Research Digest also points to a recent high-profile debate about memory science between psychologist expert witnesses. “With such public disagreements between experts, perhaps it is no wonder that the current study found variability in psychologists’ and psychiatrists’ beliefs about memory,” comments Research Digest.
Two Texas day-care owners, however, who spent 21 years in prison after therapists testified that some of their children had experienced satanic ritual abuse, are still campaigning for exoneration, reports the Statesman. And earlier this year, 1 Boring Old Man discussed the removal of an article from the American Psychiatric Association’s Psychiatric Times — it was removed because it was critical of some of the most high-profile mental health professionals who originally promoted the belief in recovered memories of satanic ritual abuse.
Can psychologist and psychiatrist expert witnesses be trusted to know how memory works? (Research Digest, December 2014)
Freed Texas day care owners still want exoneration (Statesman, November 30, 2014)
perhaps bigger… (1 Boring Old Man, February 14, 2014)