The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Volume 47, Number 4 - October 1999 - English
Hypnosis and the recall of early autobiographical memories
Joseph P. Green
Abstract: This study found that attempts to recall earliest memories were strongly influenced by the testing context. This investigation showed that a brief 3-minute self-hypnosis experience, coupled with the insinuation that hypnosis improves memory, resulted in earlier autobiographical memory reports (M=29.5 months) than instructions for relaxation (M=37.9 months) or counting/visualization (M=48.9 months). Inquiries about earliest memories across 5 age ranges showed that the hypnotic context resulted in a higher proportion of participants reporting a memory at or before 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months of age. Nearly 40% of the "hypnotized" participants reported a memory for an event that reportedly occurred at or before 12 months of age. A brief discussion of context effects and demand characteristics associated with hypnosis and memory follows.
The Plasticity of Early Memory Reports: Social Pressure, Hypnotizability, Compliance, and Interrogative Suggestibility
Peter T. Malinoski & Steven Jay Lynn
Abstract: Early autobiographical memory reports by adults were very sensitive to social influence in a leading interview. The mean age of initial earliest memory report was 3.7 years. When participants were instructed to close their eyes, visualize, and focus on their second birthday, 59% reported a birthday memory. After repeated probes for earlier memories, 78% of subjects reported memories at or prior to 24 months of age, and 33% reported memories within the first 12 months of age. The mean age of the final earliest memory reported was 1.6 years. Participants rated their memory reports as accurate and did not recant them when given an opportunity. The age of earliest memory reports in the suggestive interview correlated negatively with measures of compliance, hypnotizability, and interrogative suggestibility.
Normative, group, and hypnotic influences on early autobiographical memory reports
Lisa R. Marmelstein & Steven Jay Lynn
Abstract: This study examines the effects of expectancies, group versus individual interview procedures, and recall trial on reports of early autobiographical memories. No effect for interview procedure or expectancy information was obtained. However, participants reported earlier memories during hypnosis than they did both prior to hypnosis and prior to memory recovery instructions. A third of the 85 participants reported memories below the cutoff of infantile amnesia (i.e., age 2) after they received suggestions that they could recall earlier memories. Two-thirds of participants reported such memories during hypnosis. Even after being debriefed and contacted by telephone outside the experimental context, more than a third (37%) of the participants continued to report memories prior to age 2.
Autobiographical Remembering and Forgetting: What Can Hypnosis Tell Us?
Amanda J. Barnier and Kevin M. McConkey
Abstract: Autobiographical memory can be characterized in terms of its reconstructive nature, its relationship with self-identity, and its shifting accessibility. Hypnosis research on personal memory has focused for the most part on its reconstructive nature. We examine selected contributions of hypnosis research to understanding the nature and function of autobiographical memory, and consider further ways in which hypnosis can make specific contributions to theoretical understanding and empirical inquiry into personal recollection. We provide some examples of research on various aspects of hypnosis and autobiographical memory and suggest particular ways for adding to the value and impact of such work. We argue that hypnosis researchers should continue to look for ways in which they can demonstrate and communicate the vigor and relevance of their work.
Eliciting Autobiographical Pseudomemories: The Relevance of Hypnosis, Hypnotizability and Attributions
Richard A. Bryant and Amanda J. Barnier
Abstract: The authors investigated the roles of hypnosis, hypnotizability, and attributions in autobiographical pseudomemories. Experiment 1 administered a suggestion for recall of their second birthday to hypnotized high and low hypnotizable participants and unhypnotized, high hypnotizable participants; Experiment 2 administered a similar suggestion to real and simulating participants. Recall was tested during hypnosis, after hypnosis, and after a challenge procedure. In Experiment 1, more highs than lows reported a memory during hypnosis; however, following the challenge, half the waking highs but none of the hypnosis highs retracted their memory. Notably, highs attributed their memories to reconstructions based on other birthdays. In Experiment 2, whereas an equal number of reals and simulators reported a memory of their second birthday during hypnosis and then retracted following the challenge, they made different attributions about their memories. These findings highlight the value of a closer investigation of attributional processes that reconcile believed-in autobiographical memories with conflicting evidence.