The Facade of Scientific Documentation:
A Case Study of Richard Ofshe's Analysis of the Paul Ingram Case
This article appeared in the American Psychological Association's journal Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, vol. 4, issue # 4, pages 1182-1197. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law is also the law review journal of the University of Arizona College of Law and the University of Miami School of Law.
ABSTRACT: The case of Paul Ingram, a man who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing his daughters, has received widespread media attention. Richard Ofshe (1992, 1994) set forth a narrative of the case which included his account of an experiment to test the veracity of Ingram's confessions and concluded that the inadvertent use of hypnosis during Ingram's interrogation resulted in the creation of pseudomemories that convinced Ingram of his guilt. On the basis of an examination of the original source documents, the authors discuss the errors of fact, methodological flaws, and confounding factors in Ofshe's rendering of this case of alleged child abuse. They also cite examples of the extent to which Ofshe's imperfect narrative of this case and pseudoscientific conclusions have been uncritically accepted and repeated in the literature, thus becoming an academic version of an urban legend.
- Memory, Abuse, and Science: Questioning Claims about the False Memory Syndrome [American Psychologist]
- Science As Careful Questioning: Are Claims of a False Memory Syndrome Epidemic Based on Empirical Evidence? [American Psychologist]
- Pseudoscience, Cross-examination, and Scientific Evidence in the Recovered Memory Controversy [Psychology, Public Policy, & Law]
- What Psychologists Better Know about Recovered Memories, Research, Lawsuits, and the Pivotal Experiment [Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice]
- The Facade of Scientific Documentation: A Case Study of Richard Ofshe's Analysis of the Paul Ingram Case [Psychology, Public Policy, & Law]