Archive for November, 2017

Do Roy Moore’s Accusers Have False Memories?

November 29, 2017

The human brain is an unreliable memory device.  It can forget events that happened and remember events that didn’t.

I don’t know  if the allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior by Ray Moore 40 years ago are true or not.   I do know that it is unlikely he would remember such casual affairs so many years in the past.  Many men would forget such affairs in weeks, if not days.   A young woman might consider an older man’s attention significant,  but to the older man the young woman is just another warm body who might be used and forgotten.

It is possible Moore doesn’t remember the incidents because they didn’t occur except in the brains of his accusers.  False memory can play a role in allegations of sexual abuse of young people.  Women and men sometimes falsely imagine they have had a  sexual relationship with someone that didn’t actually occur.   Talk show host David Letterman once had  a problem with a woman who thought she was his wife.   A  woman who was convinced she was married to singer Michael Jackson even challenged his will in court.

False memories in women can begin as sexual fantasies with “rape fantasies“.    Men sometimes misinterpret the concept as an indication that women want to be raped.    Such fantasies might be more accurately described as “action adventure” fantasies.    Males may fantasize about athletic achievements  or perhaps imagine themselves as someone like James Bond or Marshall  Matt Dillon.   Females seem less inclined to fantasize about being involved in sports or fighting evil doers which leaves contact with men as the potential subject of physical fantasies.

The accounts given by Moore’s accusers Leigh Corfman  .   and Beverly Young Nelson fit a pattern which could indicate they are fantasies.    The plots of each involve a dangerous encounter with an older man in which each accuser escapes without being raped.  Each is a damsel in distress who in effect rescues herself.

Memories can be affected by drug and alcohol abuse.    Leigh Corfman’s  use of drugs and   alcohol might have affected her memory of events from her youth to the extent that she might be  confusing
an old fantasy with an actual event.

Television  can also affect memories of past events.  Watching a program multiple times can lead to stronger memories of  an event depicted on the program regardless o whether the event is real or fictional.  Seeing a fictional event that is similar to an actual event or a fantasy event could result in the brain combining the events.  As I read Nelson account of what she believed happened to her I saw two brief images. One video segment  was a woman who seemed to be struggling.   The other was of a car leaving an area in a hurry.

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