Monday, September 13, 2010
In a monograph (1966) for Abnormal Psychology, University of Michigan, this writer provided an epithet – The Smiley Blanton Syndrome – for the confluence of materials that form a new memory or recollection, composed of diverse artifacts that a human mind accumulates, around a topic.
That is, when one reads or sees an item, then reads or sees another item (in the same or near-same context), a new memory or recollection is formed, from combining and mixing the disparate data/information.
The new memory or recollection is considered to be valid (or true, real) by the person who has “created” the new memory/recollection, even though it is a unique creation made up of tidbits that are only tangentially connected if connected at all.
This corresponds to the theses advocated by Bartlett in his 1932 work, Remembering, which remains a primary, still relevant work by cognitive psychologists and neurologists. (See current thinking about Bartlett’s work by accessing the list of materials below.)
When a witness to a UFO event, such as Roswell or Betty/Barney Hill’s testimony, after-the-fact (of their alleged abduction), comes into contact with related materials, they tend to incorporate, unconsciously or semi-consciously, elements from those related materials, forming a new “reality.”
This isn’t a direct malfeasance by the persons concocting the new “story” or enhancing another story in the news. It is a quirk of the mind, as Bartlett noted, correctly, many years ago.
The Smiley Blanton Syndrome, which was reproduced in experiments at U of M, provides a template for UFO researchers who want to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were.
Roswellian testimony is a selective source for determining if a witness has, inadvertently, combined multiple data and input to form what appears to be accurate and supportive testimony from other Roswell witnesses.
This is Anthony Bragalia’s thesis: the testimony he has acquired resonates with other witness testimonies.
The collective memory flaws are also addressed by Bartlett and the writers below. (Jung, too, dealt with collective memory, and its caveats.)
It is time to move away from Roswell testimony and witnesses, in the public arena, anyway, and time to move on to other UFO events without the residual energy of ET believers and resident debunkers or skeptics that Roswell generates.
That is, until Mr. Bragalia, and a few other UFO researchers produce information from new leads, which may (or may not) confirm the ET crash in Roswell.
(The RRRGroup is not holding its united breath, however.)
N.B. Bartlett's book Remembering (1932) is frequently cited as a major forerunner of the information processing approach to memory and cognition....remembering in natural contexts. A re-examination of Bartlett's work demonstrates that it offers little basis for an information processing approach, but rather that it offers the foundation of a much broader, culturally contextualized and functional approach to the study of everyday remembering. Three particular themes are discussed: the integration of social judgements and affective reactions with cognition, the role of conventional symbols in the coding and communication of experience, and the importance of conversational discourse. Bartlett's best-known studies, involving the method of serial reproduction, are shown to be microcosmic demonstrations of the process that he was most concerned with—that of conventionalization of symbols rather than of the workings of an individual's memory. It is argued, again beginning with Bartlett, that everyday remembering may be most fruitfully studied in terms of its personal and social functions, and particularly through its realization in discourse. [Conversation and remembering: Bartlett revisited, Derek Edwards, David Middleton, Copyright © 1987 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd]
The thinking person's emotional theorist: A comment on Bartlett's "Feeling, imaging, and thinking" [Tim Dalgleish, British Journal of Psychology, 2009]
Bartlett, Culture and Cognition [Edited by Akiko Saito, University of Cambridge, UK, 2000]
Disparate Effects of Repeated Testing: Reconciling Ballard's (1913) and Bartlett's (1932) Results [Mark A. Wheeler and Henry L. Roediger, III, Rice University, American Psychological Society, 1992]
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Copyright 2010, InterAmerica, Inc.
Debate continues here and elsewhere about witness testimony regarding the Roswell incident [sic] and other UFO episodes.
Related accounts at the time and, more importantly, later – much later in some instances – have to be tempered by all the psychological caveats for memory.
The literature is extensive, but not accessed by ufologists (which isn’t surprising, as ufologists generally are inept at researching what they perceive as tangential to their preconceived notions) and, along with their inadequate training in appropriate academic disciplines, the matter of memory failure is shunted aside or disregarded altogether.
But it is clear to psychologists, neurologists, and those in the legal profession (lawyers, prosecutors, judges, et al.) that witness testimony has to be corroborated by something more than circumstantial elements. That is, memory alone cannot and should not be the sole arbitrator in matters of serious consequence.
The mental acuity of every person is subject to a diversity of things including physiological debilities, associative history (from childhood onward), memory disorder,1 and something we call the Smiley Blanton Syndrome, predefined by F. C. Bartlett in his book Remembering [Cambridge University Press, 1932]:
"[Bartlett] has demonstrated that the content of what has been previously acquired in ordinary experience may be radically altered when remembered…It is his argument that the individual tends to incorporate new items a mental ‘schema’ so that remembering is ‘an imaginative reconstruction, or construction, built out of the relation of our attitude towards a whole active mass of organized past reactions or experience…"2
Ernst Jones also discussed “memory replacement” in his Papers on Psycho-Analysis, (4th Edition, Wood, Baltimore 1938)3
The processes of memory may be afflicted by neural maladies including simple forgetfulness all the way to dementia. The “memory trace” or neurogram (engram) can be disoriented by brain modifications or diseases of the nervous system, as outlined in Psychology [4th Edition, Norman L. Munn, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston 1961, Page 451 ff.]
Repression also needs to be determined, as many Roswellians, according to Anthony Bragalia (See material in archives here), were affected psychologically (and physiologically) by their association with the Roswell story and may have resorted to the neurotic escape of suppressing what they experienced, in reality or in fantasy. (See The Psychology of Adjustment, 2nd Edition, Laurance Frederic Shaffer and Edward Joseph Shoben, Jr., Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1956, Page 236 ff.)
Then there is “memory error” or confabulation where, unable to recall exact events or details, persons manufacture something that seems appropriate.4
None of the things mentioned here have been taken into account, for the Roswell witnesses or witnesses to other UFO sightings and events.
Until the memory matter is clarified, which is possible for some still-living Roswell witnesses, their accounts and remembrances remain suspect.
N.B. See also sciconrev.org/category/cognition/
1 Symptoms of Psychopathology: A Handbook, Edited by Charles G. Costello, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. NY, 1970, Page 95 ff.
2 A Dictionary of the Social Sciences, Edited by Julius Gould and William L. Kolb, The Free Press, NY, 1964, Page 422
3 Psychiatric Dictionary, 4th Edition, Edited by Leland E. Hinsie, M.D. and Robert J. Campbell, M.D., Oxford University Press, London, 1970, Page 189
4 Psychology Today, CRM Books, Del Mar, California, 1970, Page 360
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Copyright 2010, InterAmerica, Inc.
If you wish to avoid lies, subterfuge, and intellectual deviance in life and the UFO community, make it a point to avoid or eschew persons with beards and writings by persons with beards.
The current thinking in psychology is that persons with beards are using facial hair to cover or disguise mouths that spew lies (or have engaged in perverse activities of an oral nature).
We have always been wary, instinctively, of those ufologists who are heavily bearded, and find that those instincts compare favorably with the prevailing thinking of psychiatry nowadays.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say, in part, about beards and those who sport them:
In the course of history, men with facial hair have been ascribed various attributes such as … filthiness, crudeness, or an eccentric disposition.
In a general way, in Rome at this time, a long beard was considered a mark of slovenliness and squalor. The censors L. Veturius and P. Licinius compelled M. Livius, who had been banished, on his restoration to the city, to be shaved, and to lay aside his dirty appearance, and then, but not until then, to come into the Senate.
From the 1920s to the early 1960s, beards were virtually nonexistent in mainstream America. The few men who wore the beard or portions of the beard during this period were frequently either old, Central Europeans; members of a religious sect that required it; in academia; or part of the counterculture, such as the "beatniks".
Many Hindu priests are unshaven as a sign of purity.
Vaishnava men, typically of the ISKCON sect, are encouraged to be clean-shaven as a sign of cleanliness.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Modern Mormon men are strongly encouraged to be clean shaven. Formal prohibitions against facial hair are given to young men entering their two-year mission service. Those entering the church-sponsored universities are asked to adhere to the Church Educational System Honor Code, which states in part: "Men are expected to be clean-shaven; beards are not acceptable."
The U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Marine Corps justify banning beards on the basis of both hygiene and of the necessity for a good seal with gas masks. The U.S. Navy did allow beards for a time in the 1970s and 1980s, following a directive from Chief of Naval Operations Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr., but subsequently banned them again. The U.S. Coast Guard allowed beards until 1986, when they were banned by the Commandant, Admiral Paul Yost. The vast majority of police forces across the United States still ban beards.
Our experience has been that those in the UFO camp who sport beards are crude, as indicated above, or sexually perverse.
Moreover, what they have to say about UFOs is tempered by us as we have found that such hirsuted persons will lie, through their teeth (as the old caution puts it), to achieve any nefarious end that benefits their personal psychopathology.
If you come across anything written or said by a person with a beard – the bigger the beard the worse will be the affect – either eschew the material or receive it with a large dose of skepticism.
N.B. Reginald Reynolds: Beards: Their Social Standing, Religious Involvements, Decorative Possibilities, and Value in Offence and Defence Through the Ages (Doubleday, 1949) (ISBN 0-15-610845-3)
James A. Brussel, M.D.: Casebook of A Crime Psychiatrist (Bernard Geis Associates, [Grove Press], 1968)
Charles G. Costello (Editor): Symptoms of Psychopathology: A Handbook (John Wiley and sons, Inc. NY, 1970)
Leland E. Hinsie, M.D. and Robert J. Campbell, M.D., Psychiatric Dictionary [Fourth Edition], (Oxford University Press, London, 1970)