WASHINGTON-March 22, 2013- “Psychology keeps trying to vindicate human nature. History keeps undermining the effort.”-Mason Cooley.
In the Jodi Arias trial, the so-called ‘expert witness’, Dr. Richard Samuels, has declared Arias did not process her “trauma” from short term memory (STM) to Long term memory (LTM) with any degree of success due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). When cross examined of his knowledge in the area of memory and PTSD, Samuels loudly explained “I have been studying test results for years!”.
Yet his ‘expertise’ is sex therapy.
Based on Samuel’s diverse knowledge, one may conclude many folks have had sexual experiences they would just as soon forget and some they can’t recall.
STM is just that – from seconds to hours, maybe days at best until memory are encoded into LTM for retrieval. There are two basic types of amnesia; retrograde amnesia which is a loss of memory before a particular date and anterograde amnesia which describes the inability to form LTM from STM.
Both can occur simultaneously.
However, these types of memory losses usually stem from brain damage to the hippocampus, medial temporal lode and other significant areas of the brain. Damage can result from injury, tumor or disease.
Most every modern American Psychological Association (APA) reported study suggests the greater the emotion associated with a new memory, the greater the ability to recall such a memory.
Every study this author viewed on PTSD and the amnesia Samuel claims has Arias in its throes, dissociative amnesia, or the loss of memory, perception or awareness, is a temporary disorder.
The most significant aspect of PTSD is the inability to forget a traumatic experience. Regardless of Samuel’s psycho-nonsense, the issues of PTSD and amnesia are written from the standpoint of victim of trauma-not perpetrator.
Imagine how many lives can be taken illegally with the reasoning: “I was so traumatized, I lied because I really forgot I planned, executed, covered up and hid from the hideous experience of my own doing! Whew! I better keep an eye on myself! Can I go now?”
Sub-conscious to conscious-“You hacked a man to death!” Conscious to sub-conscious-“Fuggetaboutit!”.
Not even in Peoria. It’s a wonder more spectators didn’t vomit.
The defense team should have vetted Samuel a bit more. Almost one million dollars in taxpayer’s money after five years of billable hours and they get a sex therapist with a dubious background. I suppose no other psychologist could present such a thin and novel explanation of the Arias mind.
If Arias is found guilty, and she should unless there is a questionable glove fitting incident, and is sentenced to the death penalty, the billable hours will skyrocket from appeal.
An Arizona Department of Correction website tells us the average cost to keep Arias in prison is currently $22,650.00 annually and she is only 37 years of age.
One nightmare is she walks due to jurors biting the capsule swallowing Samuel’s testimony.
Let’s hope the jury members were vetted better than the experts.
Paul Mountjoy is a Virginia based writer and a member of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science.
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