Trinity College Dublin Professor Shane O’Mara has written a scientific paper that widely criticizes the interrogation methods used by the CIA during the George W. Bush presidency.
In the findings in his paper, that was published in the science journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, O’Mara says that methods like waterboarding and sleep deprivation can actually cause damage to the brain.
"The assumption is that the (methods) are without effect on memory, or indeed facilitate the retrieval of information from memory," O’Mara told AP.
In his paper O’Mara says that constant trauma on the brain from these interrogation methods can cause damage to the hippocampus, which integrates memory in the brain.
Persistent trauma can also lead to confabulation, which causes the subject to insert falsifications into his memory and believe them to be true – which means that the interrogator cajoling and inflicting of trauma can get the prisoner to believe and tell them whatever they want to hear.
In effect, continuous interrogation methods can cause the subject to create and believe false memories, thus imparting information that may not actually be true and negating the entire point of these "methods," one of which, waterboarding, has been called torture by President Obama.
O'Mara argues that the interrogation methods are based on "folk psychology"- what unqualified interrogators think might work on the brain as opposed to what will actually happen to the suspects brain when these methods are carried out.