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Concept: Holocaust denial



The authors review the literature on two dramatic psychosomatic disorders of reproduction and offer a potential classification of pregnancy denial.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Reproduction, Avicenna, Fertility, Psychosomatic medicine, Denial, Holocaust denial, Denial of pregnancy


The present study examined the mnemonic consequences of true/false denials and affirmatives on how a listener appraises their personal past. To this end, participants (listeners) rated the extent to which they were confident certain events occurred during their childhood. They rated these events both before and after a confederate (speaker) denied or affirmed the occurrence of four different childhood events each, for a total of eight “rehearsed” events. For each set (denials and affirmatives) of events, half were true and half were false. In turn, this created four types of events (two each): true denials, true affirmatives, false denials, and false affirmatives. Additionally, half of the participants were told that the speaker was provided independent information about the veracity of the event’s occurrence (“expert” condition). Overall, listeners were less confident in the occurrence of false denial events, but more so when they believed the speaker to be more knowledgeable of the listeners memories, more confident in false affirmative events and, counter intuitively, more confident in the occurrence of true denial events. These results underscore the importance of a nuanced approach to the mnemonic consequences of true and false denials and affirmations in the course of social interactions.

Concepts: Present, Epistemology, Lie, Sigmund Freud, Policy debate, Psychological manipulation, Denial, Holocaust denial


Child maltreatment cases often hinge on a child’s word versus a defendant’s word, making children’s disclosures crucially important. There is considerable debate concerning why children recant allegations, and it is imperative to examine recantation experimentally. The purpose of this laboratory analogue investigation was to test (a) how often children recant true allegations of an adult’s wrongdoing after disclosing and (b) whether children’s age and caregiver supportiveness predict recantation. During an interactive event, 6- to 9-year-olds witnessed an experimenter break a puppet and were asked to keep the transgression a secret. Children were then interviewed to elicit a disclosure of the transgression. Mothers were randomly assigned to react supportively or unsupportively to this disclosure, and children were interviewed again. We coded children’s recantations (explicit denials of the broken puppet after disclosing) and changes in their forthcomingness (shifts from denial or claims of lack of knowledge/memory to disclosure and vice versa) in free recall and in response to focused questions about the transgression. Overall, 23.3% of the children recanted their prior disclosures (46% and 0% in the unsupportive and supportive conditions, respectively). No age differences in recantation rates emerged, but 8- and 9-year-olds were more likely than 6- and 7-year-olds to maintain their recantation throughout Interview 2. Children whose mothers reacted supportively to disclosure became more forthcoming in Interview 2, and those whose mothers reacted unsupportively became less forthcoming. Results advance theoretical understanding of how children disclose negative experiences, including sociomotivational influences on their reports, and have practical implications for the legal system.

Concepts: Scientific method, Child, Experiment, Interview, Experimental music, Denial, Minimisation, Holocaust denial


How do reasoners understand and formulate denials of compound assertions, such as conjunctions and disjunctions? A theory based on mental models postulates that individuals enumerate models of the various possibilities consistent with the assertions. It therefore predicts a novel interaction: in affirmations, conjunctions, A and B, which refer to one possibility, should be easier to understand than disjunctions, A or B, which refer to more than one possibility; in denials, conjunctions, not(A and B), which refer to more than one possibility, should be harder to understand than disjunctions, not(A or B), which do not. Conditionals are ambiguous and they should be of intermediate difficulty. Experiment 1 corroborated this trend with a task in which the participants selected which possibilities were consistent with assertions, such as: Bob denied that he wore a yellow shirt and he wore blue pants on Tuesday. Experiment 2 likewise showed that participants' own formulations of verbal denials yielded the same trend in which denials of conjunctions were harder than denials of conditionals, which in turn were harder than denials of disjunctions.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Chemistry, Science, Theory, Mathematical logic, Denial, Christina Aguilera, Holocaust denial