[Shane]O’Mara derides the belief that extreme stress produces reliable memory as “folk neurobiology” that “is utterly unsupported by scientific evidence.” The hippocampus and prefrontal cortex — the brain’s centers of memory processing, storage and retrieval — are profoundly altered by stress hormones. Keep the stress up long enough, and it will “result in compromised cognitive function and even tissue loss,” warping the minds that interrogators want to read.
What’s more, tortured suspects might not even realize when they’re lying. Frontal lobe damage can produce false memories: As torture is maintained for weeks or months or years, suspects may incorporate their captors’ allegations into their own version of reality.
The “ticking time bomb” argument has been used to justify torture in situations where the information it retrieves could immediately save lives. But it will be “difficult or impossible to determine during interrogation whether the information a suspect reveals is true,” writes O’Mara — and the bomb will continue to tick.
It may not work but who cares right? At least it makes some among us feel better because of the pain inflicted on the bad guys. An eye for an eye is taught in the Bible afterall.