Alien abduction experiences: Some clues from neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry

Holden, Katharine and French, Christopher C.. 2002. Alien abduction experiences: Some clues from neuropsychology and neuropsychiatry. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 7(3), pp. 163-178. ISSN 1354-6805 [Article]

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Introduction. Many thousands of people around the world firmly believe that they have been abducted by alien beings and taken on board spaceships where they have been subjected to painful medical examination. Method. Given that such accounts are almost certainly untrue, four areas of neuroscience are considered with respect to possible clues that may lead towards a fuller understanding of the alien abduction experience. Results. First, it is argued that sleep paralysis may be implicated in many such claims. Second, research into false memories is considered. It is argued that abductees may be more prone to false memories than the general population. Third, evidence is considered relating to the mental health of abductees. It is concluded that there is currently no convincing evidence for higher rates of serious psychopathology amongst abductees compared to the general population. However, abductees do seem to show higher levels on some potentially relevant measures (e.g., tendency to dissociate). Finally, claims that alien abduction experiences may be linked to abnormal activity in the temporal lobes is considered. Conclusion. Although the neurosciences provide many clues to the nature of this bizarre experience, further research is required before a full understanding will be attained.

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Date Deposited:

07 Mar 2011 15:55

Last Modified:

03 Aug 2017 10:21

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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