26th APS Annual Convention: Mark Your Calendar (San Francisco, CA, USA - May 22-25, 2014)


New Developments in Science and Pseudoscience in Psychology

Friday, May 23, 2014, 1:00 PM - 2:20 PM
Golden Gate 5

Chair: Lawrence Patihis
University of Southern Mississippi

We present new findings regarding scientific and pseudoscientific treatments and theories in psychology that bear on (a) the current state of facilitated communication, (b) dissociative identity disorder, (c) thought field therapy and energy therapies, and (d) the scientist-practitioner gap in beliefs about repressed memory.

Eleven years after the publication of the book Science and Pseudoscience in Clinical Psychology (SPCP), three of the original authors and two presenters significantly influenced by the book, provide an updated status report regarding selected pseudoscientific practices in psychology. What positive developments, in scientific psychology, if any, have occurred since the publication of SPCP, and what pseudoscientific practices have emerged over the past decade? Lilienfeld and Marshall present on the comeback of facilitated communication, a discredited treatment for autism with a history of problematic outcomes. They present their findings suggesting that this intervention has experienced a revival in many quarters and examine the implications of these troubling developments for the conduct and dissemination of psychological science in the clinical community. Lynn’s presentation focuses on the highly controversial condition: dissociative identity disorder. He will examine widely used techniques that carry the risk of the iatrogenic creation of symptoms, argue that the case that trauma produces dissociation is not convincing, and present new findings regarding dissociation and memory and perceptual commission errors and sleep disturbances. Pignotti presents her expert insights regarding so called “energy therapies,” including recent developments in Thought Field Therapy, an intervention that uses tapping on purported meridian points on the body to relieve symptoms. She discusses the recent move by APA Continuing Education to provide credit approval for workshops on this topic. Patihis presents data from a recent Psychological Science article that shows that clinicians believe in the concept of repressed memory of trauma much more so than researchers and memory and cognition experts. He also presents new information from his research, not published previously, regarding qualitative responses provided by alternative therapists. Carol Tavris, a champion of scientific psychology and outspoken critic of pseudoscience, will serve as the discussant, providing her unique perspective based on decades of scrutiny of pseudoscientific practices.

Subject Area: Clinical

The Comeback of Facilitated Communication: Lessons for Psychological Science
Scott O. Lilienfeld
Emory University
The presenters discuss recent evidence that facilitated communication (FC), an intervention for autism spectrum disorder that by the late 1990s was discredited by scientific studies, is experiencing a troubling resurgence. They examine potential reasons for the gap between the paucity of evidence for FC and its clinical use.

Co-Author: Julia Marshall, Emory University

Does Trauma Produce Dissociative Identity Disorder? Case Not Closed
Steven J. Lynn
Binghamton University (SUNY)
Dissociative disorders are controversial conditions listed in DSM-5. The authors will contend that recent research does not support the conclusion that DID is necessarily the byproduct of highly adverse events. They present new findings regarding commission errors related to dissociation and findings suggesting that sleep disturbances can engender dissociation.

Co-Author: Liam Condon, Binghamton University (SUNY)

Co-Author: Peter Lemons, Binghamton University (SUNY)

Co-Author: Anne Malaktaris, Binghamton University (SUNY)

Co-Author: Jessica Baltman, Binghamton University (SUNY)

Pseudo-Evidence Based Practice: Thought Field Therapy and Other Energy Meridian Tapping Therapies as Exemplars
Monica Pignotti
Independent Scholar
New developments in the saga of Thought Field Therapy and Energy Psychology, including the APA providing Continuing Education credits for psychologists attending workshops on this topic. Proponents currently claim that these practices warrant inclusion on the APA’s list of empirically supported treatments, which the presenter argues is premature.

Co-Author: Bruce A. Thyer, Florida State University

A Scientist-Practitioner Gap in Beliefs about Repressed Memory
Lawrence Patihis
University of Southern Mississippi
Based on our recent Psychological Science article, we discuss gap in beliefs about repressed memory across a number of researcher and practitioner groups. We will also present new findings based on free response sentences, including the intriguing responses of alternative therapists, that also suggest a science-practice gap still exists.

Co-Author: Lavina Y. Ho, Pennsylvania State University, Harrisberg

Co-Author: Ian W. Tingen, University of California, Irvine

Co-Author: Scott O. Lilienfeld, Emory University

Co-Author: Dr. Elizabeth F. Loftus, University of California, Irvine

Carol A. Tavris (Discussant)
Social Psychologist and Writer

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