Talk:False Memory Syndrome Foundation

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Personal vendettas abound[edit]

After reviewing this article, which I first discovered through an inappropriate linking from Covert_incest, I have become further convinced that there are people exploiting this issue to gratify their own personal biases. I fail to see how this article even meets the criteria for inclusion in wikipedia at all, as a small two-person front group for an accused child molestor and his complacent wife, hardly seems a legitimate organization at all. In addition, I'd advise any prudent individuals here to carefully review and verify the references used, as the "criticsm" section of Covert_incest is a hatchet job of of false references created by someone to legitimate their own pro-incest leanings. The only valid reference used there led back to this organization, founded by accused child molestors, so I find it likely that same person has been at work here, as well. Makes one doubt the neutrality somewhat. (talk) 08:00, 30 August 2008 (UTC)

That is a a lie. (I'm not saying that you are lying; you may just not have adequately researched the matter.) It's not a "front group" for a (falsely) accused child molestor. Now, I haven't looked at covert incest, so that could be worthy of deletion, but false memory syndrome is probably real, and the Foundation appears to be generally a reliable source for information about it. There may be a personal vendetta involved, but it's from the unreliable oppostion to this organization. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 09:02, 30 August 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, it's much more than a "two-person front", and it covers much bigger issues than one single case. It developed after the epidemic over-diagnosis of Multiple Personality Disorder in the 1980s, in which MPD always either progressed or first developed during the course of therapy. The number of diagnosed cases from a few dozen to tens of thousands in the U.S. It was generally believed to be the result of child abuse, but the stories told by the alters became more and more outlandish, speaking of ritual abuse by satanic cults of which no evidence could be located. Eventually, the stories also began to include alien abduction. None of this is acknowledged by the author, and that is the neutrality problem: the author is presenting this as a front for a couple of accused child molestors, and ignoring the larger scope of the group's activities. Were the Freyds guilty of what they were accused of? I have no idea, and it's a valid point for the article, but it shouldn't be the central point of the article. The FMSF has played a good part in combating the hysteria surrounding MPD, eventually helping to curb the ridiculous overdiagnosis of the disorder by changing the way it's treated, and that needs to be reflected in the article.GuySperanza (talk) 17:15, 26 June 2009 (UTC)

Warning to Pamfreyd — severe conflict of interest[edit]

Perhaps you did not see the notification that I posted to your talk page User talk:Pamfreyd. Here is a repeat:

Your attempt on 21 Feb 2007 to edit the Wikipedia article on the False Memory Syndrome Foundation violates numerous Wikipedia policies. Please read the following very carefully:

  1. Wikipedia has a policy against editing or writing articles about subjects in which you are personally involved. As the Executive Director of the FMSF, you are personally involved, and have a serious conflict of interest. If you persist in editing this article this dispute will be taken to a higher level for action or arbitration. See Wikipedia:Conflict of interest and Wikipedia:Autobiography.
  2. Your changes violate the Wikipedia policy which requires a neutral point of view. See Wikipedia:Neutral Point of View. You cannot simply delete sections that deal with a real controversy, as if to pretend that the controversy does not exist.
  3. It is Wikipedia policy to report both sides of any controversial topic, with negative material usually placed in a section entitled "Controversy". See Wikipedia:Guidelines for controversial articles.
  4. I have tagged the discussion page for the article on the False Memory Syndrome Foundation with the "controversial" category, so that it will be monitored by other Wikipedia editors and administrators.
  5. Please refrain from any more edits to the False Memory Syndrome Foundation article. You have a severe conflict of interest, which by Wikipedia policy disqualifies you from editing these particular articles. —Aetheling 21:07, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

False Memory Syndrome Foundation[edit]

There are errors in the article.

For instance the opening line should read.

"The False Memory Syndrome Foundation was founded by a group of parents and professionals who gathered on the 1st of March 1992."

I could go into more detail, and point to other errors, but at this point would like to add that the article contains material that is perhaps the result of changes made, perhaps by people who disagree with the aims and objectives of the organization.

Adriaan J.W. Mak member since 1992 of the FMSFoundation Canadian contact for victims of suggestive therapeutic practices DO NOT POST PERSONAL DETAILS ON WIKIPEDIA —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:07, 22 March 2007 (UTC).

comment moved from top of page[edit]

Edited by OrcaLvr with correct info on the FMSF. I am not related to the organization in any way, shape, or form. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Orcalvr (talkcontribs) 04:17, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Before making such a drastic change to a Wikipedia article, you should discuss your proposed changes first, on this page. By Wikipedia policy, every article on a controversial topic or organization should have a section named "Controversy", in which opposing statements are aired, with references to publications. By deleting the Controversy section from the FMSF article, are you trying to imply that no controversy exists? What information do you believe to be "incorrect", and what are your sources for that? Why do you think the Wikipedia article on FMSF should parrot that organization's own website? Wikipedia guidelines suggest the opposite: articles should be original compositions, not quotes from official (and self-serving) sources. I have reverted your edit, but I encourage you to make your case here for each of your proposed changes. It might be a good idea for you to review Wikipedia policies and guidelines as well. — Aetheling (talk) 16:23, 25 December 2007 (UTC)

Small but significant change[edit]

The intro stated that J. Freyd had accused her father of sexually abusing her. I've corrected it, because this is not what J. Freyd reports in Betrayal Trauma or any of her interviews or presentations.

Peter and Pamela Freyd became aware that their daughter believed her father had sexually abused her when their son-in law, J. Freyd's husband, confronted them with the fact during a fight. At no point did J. Freyd "accuse" her father of anything.

Peter and Pamela Freyd made this private matter a public one against their daughter's wishes, and it is important that Wikipedia reflects this accurately. --Biaothanatoi (talk) 05:41, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Does "accused" imply "publically accused". I don't think so. I'm considering reverting, as the new statement doesn't seem to have the appropriate weight, and both are clearly correct. But I'll consider more reasoning. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 15:01, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
To state that "Freyd accused her father" is to infer that Freyd confronted her father directly with the charge that he had sexually abused her. This confrontation never took place. Rather, the Freyds became aware of their daughter's belief that she had been sexually abused during a confrontation with their son-in-law.
To suggest that the formation of FMSF was catalysed by the actions of Jennifer Freyd is false and misleading. If you feel that the current wording is inadequate, then I suggest that you consider altering it in such a way as to ensure that it does not mislead the reader in the manner of the prior statement.
And, frankly, if you do not feel that an altercation with their son-in-law was an "appropriately weighty" reason to form the FMSF, well, that's an issue that you'll have to take up with Pamela and Peter Freyd. --Biaothanatoi (talk) 00:59, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
You are apparently using the word "accused" in a way I was previously unfamiliar with. I see no basis for inferring that an accusation must be made publicly (my interpretation of your previous argument) nor to the subject (apparently your interpretation).
To suggest that the formation of FMSF was catalysed by the actions of Jennifer Freyd is a rational interpretation of even your statement, unless you want to imply that her husband lied in stating she made the statement (accusation, or not). If you want to avoid that interpretation you're going to have to lie, I'm afraid, as there is no evidence to the contrary. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 13:25, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Thinking about it, though, the edit you made seems acceptable, although slightly biased. I'm not going to revert, although the errors in your reasoning, and that you think there's a difference between the statements and that you make incorrect inferences from your proposed wording may lead others to revert. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 13:36, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
To state that "Freyd accused Peter", when all she did was discuss her memories with her husband, is a false statement, Rubin. And your argument otherwise is just bizarre. --Biaothanatoi (talk) 23:22, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
See Wikitionary for definitions. It's not false. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 23:34, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
How ridiculous. Read the "usage notes" on the page you've just linked to, Rubin. "To accuse is a somewhat formal act". The requirement of a "formal act" of accusation is hardly met by J. Freyd expressing a belief to her husband, who then communicates this belief indirectly to her parents.
If you actually read J. Freyd's account in Betrayal Trauma you'll find that she does not accuse or charge her father with a crime. Rather, she expresses a belief about her past, but she acknowledges the ambiguities of recovered memories, and the impossibility of ever knowing what really happened.
More uncooperative and unconstructive editing from you. --Biaothanatoi (talk) 05:25, 3 April 2008 (UTC)
Nonsense again. More lies misstatements from you, as I've been expecting. As long as it only manifests in the talk pages, I can put up with it. When it starts appearing in the articles, user RfCs will start appearing, as well. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 06:59, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Massive violation of NPOV policy[edit]

This article was nothing but a slash job on the organization, providing claims by very biased sources as if they were facts and presented without full context. This group has Elizabeth Loftus as a member, a hugely respected psychologist, and the facts that the group supports are widely embraced in the field of psychology. A regular person reading this would have come away with the idea that everyone involved in it was a child molestor who had a group to defend themselves with lies.

I've tried to improve the article by getting rid of some of the most outrageous bias and WP:UNDUE weight, but what it really needs is more material to put the topic in overall context. DreamGuy (talk) 19:01, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

The FMSF is a controversial political/social activist organization; the information in the article is based on reports of their actions by reliable sources. If you have concerns about those sources, please discuss the specifics. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 20:02, 7 July 2008 (UTC)
I would agree with Jack-A-Roe's assessment above. As editors, our edits need to accurately report what the sources state and our edits should not pick and choose which sources fit a certain POV. ResearchEditor (talk) 03:45, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
DreamGuy: Let's be clear, this is an article about a particular foundation, its history, and its leadership. It is not an article about false memories. If you want to add material about false memories, please go to false memory syndrome, recovered memory therapy, repressed memory, body memory, or some similar article. On reviewing this article I have decided to downgrade its importance with respect to the Wikipedia Law and Medicine Projects, and to upgrade its quality assessment to Start. It still needs work. For example, it needs a History section, with a description of the projects funded by the FMS Foundation since its inception. —Aetheling (talk) 14:30, 8 July 2008 (UTC).
Of course it's an article about false memories, by extension, because that's the entire reason for the group's existence. But it's absolutely clear that this article has been written by those who oppose the group and have a problem with the basic concept of WP:NPOV. DreamGuy (talk) 18:55, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

The same issues regarding the recovered memory theory seem to be addressed reduntantly in multiple articles:

Near as I can tell, there are two opposing views:

  1. a minority view, held by activists, that these memories are largely real
  2. the mainstream view, that these memories are largely "false"

What's not clear to me at this point is:

  • the relative size of the mainstream and the minority: is it just one tiny group, and a scattered bunch of court decisions?
  • how much evidence there is on each side: have any studies been published by scientists?

This doesn't look like it's as big a controversy as Mind Control (aka Brainwashing), but I recall it took a few decades for the popular version of the theory to be checked out by scientists; now, courts no longer accept expert testimony by theory proponents. I'm not sure where RM is at this point.

Should I read all the article word for word, or what? --Uncle Ed (talk) 20:31, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Uncle Ed, thank you for your comments on the page. I would respectfully disagree with your assessment of the opposing views. The majority view in the literature is that recovered memories can be real and at times verified. There is a minority view that recovered memories can somehow be created, but this is largely unproven with data misapplied from nontraumatic memory studies and from rectractor statements. These retractions can be due to various causes. "The number of reported retractions is small when compared to the large number of actual child sexual abuse cases. Some have suggested that a child may retract their story of abuse due to guilt, a feeling of obligation to protect their family or may be reacting to the familial stress brought on by their allegations." ResearchEditor (talk) 03:12, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
And I would strongly disagree with ResearchEditor's claims on the what the science says. In fact I'd say it's wholly at odds with the accepted scientific understanding, and focusing on twisting certain key points (like claiming that studies on "nontraumatic" memories -- the studies also include "lost at the mall" scenarios, which are arguably traumatic, but of course real honest to goodness traumatic scenarios cannot be tested for memory conflation without being labeled abuse -- have been "misapplied" by his opinion) to give entirely the wrong impression. DreamGuy (talk) 18:55, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
The reality is that there is no evidence that a traumatic memory can be implanted. On the contrary, there is research, like Pezdek's study, that shows that this is impossible. Traumatic memory is stored differently than nontraumatic memory, this is shown in van der Kolk's work. This is why studies showing possible memory confabulation in nontraumatic memories cannot be applied to traumatic ones. ResearchEditor (talk) 01:34, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Nonsense. There's evidence that memories can be implanted, and for good reason, little research of any sort on traumatic memories. van der Kolk's theory that there's a difference is marginal. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 01:37, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
That's right, there's little research on implanting traumatic memories because it would be unethical to do so; any conclusions about that are just assumptions. There are ongoing debates about whether or not non-traumatic memory work can be generalized to traumatic memories, and nothing even close to a scientific consensus about that. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 02:53, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

Merge proposal regarding RMT & FMS pages[edit]

In consideration of the above discussion, I've entered a merge and rename proposal regarding the RMT and FMS articles, on the RMT talk page.

This article on the FMSF is not part of the merge proposal, but it is mentioned in that discussion. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 21:20, 26 July 2008 (UTC)


Rather than hypothesis in the statement "The FMSF coined the term false memory syndrome to describe their hypothesis that some adults...", with it's scientific and testing implications, how about simply "belief"? I don't think FMS has ever been tested. Thoughts? Also thoughts on the use of the full quote? And finally, "Underwager's statements in that interview have been portrayed as demonstrating he believed pedophilia was acceptable and not necessarily harmful." is sourced to the same reference as the interview itself - is this legit? Presumably the interview and the portrayal would not be combined, what with the linearity of time and whatnot. WLU (t) (c) (rules - simple rules) 21:07, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Concur about the belief term, i've made that edit. Regarding the quote and reactions being from the same source, that's because the wrong reference was used for those responses. I don't know the correct source of those statements so I swapped out the footnote and added fact tags. --Jack-A-Roe (talk) 23:18, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Pre-anti-POV version[edit]

This is an equally biased, Pro-FMSF version of the article. May include material relevant to balancing the current study. (talk) 02:50, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Remove tag[edit]

Can we remove the NPOV tag? WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 14:27, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I've removed the tag, it was put on in July, 2008 by DreamGuy and has changed substantially since then. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 14:51, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

Blanket revert[edit]

OK, I've blanket reverted to my previous version. The changes by the anon on September 26th were a mix of good, extra sources, really terrible sources, really terrible partisan sources and the elimination of some formatting, pro-FMSF sources and what I think was neutral wording. I'm trying to work through and re-integrate the good stuff. Among the sources I'm reluctant to use are the Journal of Psychohistory, Treating Abuse Today and a Mindcontrolforums post. I also didn't like the "they claim 18,000 members but the truth is it's only 2,000". The wildly different dates and dubiousness of the sources makes me reluctant to include this at all, and I don't see it as terribly relevant. There's a lot of coatracking for other issues (the Freyds =/= FMSF), but there are definitely some valid points that should be integrated. Assistance is welcome and appreciated. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 16:51, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure the "Scientific criticsm" section is adequately sourced. Most of the references certainly wouldn't be adequate under WP:BLP, and the founders and probably most of the people named in the references are living, so we need to be careful. It's certainly cherry-picked, as there is also some scientific support. Also, the claim that "the studies cited to support the contention that false memories can be easily created are often based on experiments that bear little resemblance to memories actual sexual abuse" is disputed among reputable scientists, so probably shouldn't be stated as fact. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 18:52, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Looking at the editoral statement of the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, it's a peer-reviewed journal of an advocacy group. Difficult to say whether it should be considered a reliable source. In fact, that issue's editorial statement reports that it is designed to counter the FMSF. It being a statement made by editors about the journal, I see no reason not to include that fact in the article if the journal article is used. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 19:12, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
It's such a contentious area, it's hard to get anything resembling balance from either side. My concern is that the article can quickly turn into a coatrack for false memory syndrome itself, or recovered memory therapy. Also, the FMSF side of thing kinda won the debate - no-one bothers to refute the nutter claims of abuse recovered during hypnotherapy any more, so the FMSF is less prominent and necessary. Ergo, the only publications about them any more are axe-grinders.
I agree with your points, but there's also many, many criticisms of the FMSF and they really should be included. I don't really have any problems with your suggestions, so feel free to edit accordingly. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 18:20, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

POV check[edit]

This article seem rather tilted towards the children's pov. I see, above, that this his gone around before. I think it would be best for outside eyes to have a look-see. Cheers, Jack Merridew 07:20, 12 December 2010 (UTC)


It's odd that the article is up for deletion with the claim that it is extremely biased because it was original created by someone with a COI, when the actual article itself had sections horribly slanted against the organization. So horribly slanted that they needed to be removed completely. Having the article outright say that the group misrepresents science, etc. is not acceptable, and for crying out loud the experts like Elizabeth Loftus are the consensus views of the topic on academia right now. The fact that some critics of the group can come along and find a journal run by people who support recovered memory therapy and who then write an article declaring themselves right and that everyone else is anti-scientific just because they say so in no way supports Wikipedia taking their side in the article. Psychology journals and many psychiatrists often come with major amounts of bias. Of course the very people research suggests were using bad therapy techniques to invent memories out of thin air has bad things to say about that research. Wikipedia does not take their side, especially when they are a clear minority and have an obvious agenda. DreamGuy (talk) 01:48, 5 March 2012 (UTC)

The disputed section was surreptitiously added back months ago by a brand new WP:SPA editor who appeared on Wikipedia solely to make those edits, created a talk page for its account to make the red link next to the name go away, added some highly suspicious edits that were probably to hide the controversial edit from editors' watchlists and then disappeared again. Wouldn't surprise me if it was a tactical sockpuppet of banned user ResearchEditor, since that would fit his pattern. DreamGuy (talk) 15:01, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
ResearchEditor is still at it? Amazing! MatthewTStone (talk) 21:53, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

Neutrality tag?[edit]

Based on the discussions here, it appears this page had a lot of NPOV violations. As it stands now, however, it appears fairly neutral. Am I missing something? Or, it is perhaps time to remove the tag?JoelWhy (talk) 15:45, 4 April 2012 (UTC)

Re-POV check[edit]

Came across this article organically and feel that it smacks of bias against the FMSF. I see from the page here that I'm not the first to feel this way.

A few of the many problematic points:

The goal of the FMSF expanded to become more than an advocacy organization, instead attempting to address the issues of memory that seemed to have caused the behavioral changes in their now-adult children.

This presumes that all members or participants in this organization have experienced this issue first-hand with their own children. It's also unclear and poorly written; after several reads I am still unsure what exactly it's trying to say, and can see several potential anti-FMSF interpretations. It's problematic.

In 1990 Jennifer Freyd (with the support of her grandmother and uncle) privately accused her father of abusing her throughout her teenage years after memories surfaced during treatment by a therapist for issues unrelated to sexual abuse. In 1991, Pamela Freyd published an anonymous first-person (and extremely unflattering to Jennifer Freyd[2]) account of the accusation in a non-peer reviewed journal that focused on false accusations of child sexual abuse.[11] The article was reproduced and circulated widely, including to Jennifer Freyd's department at the University of Oregon. Jennifer Freyd later stated that there were numerous inaccuracies in the article, including the circumstances in which the original memories of abuse and the portrayal of her personal life.

This does not include Pamela's response to Jennifer's claim of inaccuracy, it includes an opinion statement that the articles were "extremely unflattering", it emphasizes that Pamela's publication was anonymous in an attempt to make it appear less credible/authoritative, and includes the statement "including to Jennifer Freyd's department at the Univeristy of Oregon", which is most probably redundant with "wide" circulation and seems to have no relevance to the events as a whole other than to make it appear that Pamela was intentionally seeking to damage her daughters' reputation, which assertion is not sourced or supported in the text of this article.

Generally speaking, the article also seems to include primarily negative episodes and events, while I'm sure an organization of this age has some successful moments to recount (one could, for instance, mention that Paul Lutus has referenced the FMSF multiple times in his writings). It includes criticisms without giving place for response.

Serious rework of the whole thing by qualified, unbiased editors is likely needed. cookiecaper (talk / contribs) 00:17, 9 October 2012 (UTC)

What's it all about....[edit]

Almost all the article is about the Freyds, the initial claim and denial of abuse, and Underwager, and a little about FMS. There's hardly anything about the FMSF. I would say that all of NickBryant's edits make that worse, even though not all are negative (or positive) about the FMSF. And not all are sources quoting the editor's book. Even most of the criticism is about FMS (which should be in that article, not here) and is no longer considered mainstream. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 20:26, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Specifically, the lawyer is talking about false memories of abuse, potentially relevant in false memories, recovered memories, or false memory syndrome, not to this article, unless the lawyer (or possibly the article author) was talking about the FMSF. It's synthesis. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:06, 9 June 2014 (UTC)
Confirmed. No mention of FMSF or FMS in the article, so it would be synthesis to state that the NYT article "contradicts" the assertions of the FMSF. Furthermore it is impossible to determine whether he meant false as in "incorrect", or false as in "lie". — Arthur Rubin (talk) 21:23, 9 June 2014 (UTC)

Criticism of FSMF - Columbia Journalism Review[edit]

Consider adding to Criticism/Controversies in the article.

Columbia Journalism Review July/August 1997 Mike Stanton

"Pamela Freyd seems more like the mother and grandmother she is than a revolutionary. But as a founder of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, she has in fact helped revolutionize the way the press and the public view one of the angriest debates in America -- whether an adult can suddenly remember long-forgotten childhood abuse....

....Rarely has such a strange and little-understood organization had such a profound effect on media coverage of such a controversial matter. The foundation is an aggressive, well-financed p.r. machine adept at manipulating the press, harassing its critics, and mobilizing a diverse army of psychiatrists, outspoken academics, expert defense witnesses, litigious lawyers, Freud bashers, critics of psychotherapy, and devastated parents. With a budget of $750,000 a year from members and outside supporters, the foundation's reach far exceeds its actual membership of about 3,000. The Freyds and the members know who we are, but the press knows less than it realizes about who they are, what drives them, or why they've been so successful."

rest of the article at the link. (talk) 13:37, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

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