September 25, 2021

I, Science

The science magazine of Imperial College

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The psychology of alien abduction and contact claims

10 August, 2016 @ 7:30 am - 8:30 pm


Thousands of people around the world claim to have directly experienced contact with extraterrestrials and in many cases to have been abducted by aliens and taken on board spaceships and subjected to medical examination. How are we to explain such claims? With a few notable exceptions, those making such claims do not appear to be deliberately lying. Neither do they appear to be suffering from serious psychopathology. However, there are good reasons for doubting that such accounts are accurate reflections of events taking place in objective reality. A number of psychological factors have been implicated in attempts to explain such claims including sleep paralysis, personality factors such as fantasy proneness and possibly unusual activity in the temporal lobes of the brain. It seems likely that alien contact and abduction claims are examples of false memories.


10 August, 2016
7:30 am - 8:30 pm
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