Memory Manipulation

But we're doing it for all the right reasons, honest!

"There is little to stop parents from providing these suggestions to their children."

The cat is out of the bag on how easy it is to implant false memories. Maybe we'd all like to force the furious furry back into the burlap, but science isn't like that. You can't un-tell a secret.

Parents can distort a child's perceptions easily enough without even trying. Now that we have known techniques to facilitate deliberate memory manipulation, how long will it be before some hack releases a bestseller instructing and encouraging parents to use them? The Idiot's Guide to Manipulative Parenting, anyone? I can only imagine what could result.

Parent: When Johnny was eight and overweight we told him a story. We said, "You may not remember it clearly, but when you were four, you were eating a chocolate egg. You shared a chunk of your chocolate with our new rabbit, Fuzzy. The chunk was just the wrong size and shape. Fuzzy choked on it and died." All we wanted to do was to stop Johnny from eating too much chocolate.

Counsellor: And did it work?

Parent: No. He kept on eating chocolate, and our neighbours started complaining that Johnny was trying to kill their pets.


You want fun? Try looking into Ritual Satanic Abuse. That along with the pre-school molestation cases was an early example - and the good news is that, as an educated person in a stable relationship, you qualify as a likely satanic abuser. I used to remind my friends of this - which may be why they no longer speak to me.

There's a cogent summary in
What a wonderfully malleable thing is the human brain. I remember reading about the ritual abuse hysteria some years back when the fundies first started their anti-Harry Potter campaign.

For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is a pain in the arse for the reality-based community.