Hypnosis and Memory Retrieval

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Can hypnosis help us retrieve memories? Police officers and investigators have used hypnosis during interviews to recover as much information regarding a crime as necessary. Researchers have created many trials in which people undergo Hypnosis in order to recover memories such as a video that was watched, an unexpected conversation with a stranger, or even past lives. I believe Hypnosis does not assist in memory retrieval. In fact, it makes something such as an eye-witness interview more difficult to interpret since the person undergoing Hypnosis can change what really happened to a fantasy that they imagines. Hypnosis is also one of many suggested procedures that cause a negative impact on memory reports (Scoboria, Mazzoni, Kirsch & Milling, 2002). When one is under hypnosis their perception becomes distorted and there is a significant increase in error when researchers placed people under trial. Researchers tested the use of hypnosis versus a series of misleading questions. A misleading question can also be thought of as a “trick question”. People were given a video to watch where a crime was taking place. When posed a misleading question, those under hypnosis were able to yield and give accurate information instead of allowing themselves to be tricked (Scoboria et. al 2002). Although this trial proved that hypnosis did assist in obtaining accurate information, the test was dealing with a video (not a life experience) that was viewed the same day that a hypnosis interview was taken place. In fact another study where the exact opposite occurred. Particapants in this study were told a story and asked both neutral and misleading question afterwards. The results showed that hypnosis increased memory errors (Loftus, E. F. 2003). Other studies show that hypnosis actually can make someone add additional information or give misleading information to something that they

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