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Published: May.29.2015

Alien Abduction Syndrome: A Critical Analysis
S. Peter Resta

So-called alien abduction syndrome (AAS) has been studied by a variety of academic scholars, including from Harvard University (e.g., Susan Clancy, Ph.D., and the late John Mack, M.D.). Similarly, it has been discussed in several scholarly publications (including in a book published by the APA), and the focus of empirical research which has been presented in such journals as the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. AAS has been linked with a host of possible explanatory factors, including sleep paralysis, fantasy prone personality, dissociative reactions, and false memory syndrome (to name a few). The precise mechanism(s) which satisfactorily and conclusively explain AAS are elusive, however, and often equivocal or speculative. This presentation will examine some of the explanations which have been proffered for AAS, with particular attention paid to the role that hysteria may be playing with the phenomenon. The possibility of veridicality will also be incorporated in the presentation.

S. Peter Resta, Ph.D., is an Adjunct Assistant Professor (Psychology) and Clinical Instructor (Clinical Social Work) at the University of Maryland. Dr. Resta possesses a wealth of clinical experience, and has a small private (therapy) practice in Maryland. Among college/university courses taught is one which he person- ally devised: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY & BELIEF IN THE PARANORMAL (a junior/senior-level, 3-credit, psychology course, which critically evaluates various “paranormal” subjects). He has performed research and clinical work with individuals labeled as “alien abductees.” Resta holds two Master’s degrees (clinical psychology & clinical social work), and a Ph.D. in human development.