Toward an explanation of the UFO abduction phenomenon: Hypnotic elaboration, extraterrestrial sadomasochism, and spurious memories
Autobiographical memories are often suspect. For example, a surprisingly large number of people report having been abducted by extraterrestrials. We offer a prototype of the abduction experience and an assessment of the frequency of such reports. These accounts are hard to dismiss on the basis of mendacity or insanity, but there are ample reasons to doubt their literal accuracy. We offer a cognitive-motivational explanation for how spurious memories of unidentified flying object (UFO) abductions can be created and maintained. The motivational roots lie in the desire to escape from ordinary self-awareness, and this explanation is supported by parallels between UFO abduction accounts and masochistic fantasies. The cognitive bases involve the integration and elaboration of hallucinations, general knowledge, and contextual cues into full-blown accounts, usually with the aid of hypnosis. Due to the pitfalls of hypnosis, people develop a high degree of confidence in the veridicality of spurious UFO abduction memories.
Newman and Baumeister appear to take the approach that UFO abductions are motivatedin the desire of the abductee to escape his/her self awareness (assuming ones awareness of a past traumatic event). The masochistic fantasy conjecture may be a bit too much. But note the issue of using hypnosis as an aid and the some to endorse the totally veracity of regressive memories. (See blog post about Kimball's interview with Robert Salas).
More to come...