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ARTICLE: Hypnosis on trial. The courts are now questioning the accuracy of testimony recalled through hypnosis, even though it has helped investigators solve crimes. Elizabeth Stark

"...during hypnosis, imagined events can seem as authentic as rality, images can be extrememly vivid and there is a heightened level of fantasy."

In some studies, hypnotized subjects can correctly recall twice as many items as unhypnotized subjects, but they also make three times as many mistakes.  These seem to be willing to guess and to be less cautious about what they consider a memory.  Some believe that during hypnosis the subject is creating memories.  A memory is not only remembered but improved upon.

The mind may not be simply a videotape where every peice of information is permanently stored in the brain and can be retrieved just as it was stored.  Memory seems to be something more than this.  Both external information and a person's own thoughts can change a memory.  Under hypnosis it may be possible to alter our own memories as well as have our memories changed by subtle cues from the hypnotic operator.

Hypnotized subjects seem to be extremely susceptible to suggestion. The instructions of the originator may well influence the accuracy of what the subject recalls.  Hypnotized subjects can be easily influenced by leading questions.

Evidence obtained under hypnosis is not admissable evidence in some courts (Maryland, New Jersey has special guidelines for admitting such evidence). 

Suggestion seems to operate without hypnosis.  Consider the effects of advertising, or the placebo effect in medicine.


REFERENCE: Campbell Perry and Jean-Roch Laurence. Hypnosis, surgery, and mind-body interaciton: an historical evaluation.  Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science, 15(4),1983: 351-372.

The whole idea of the article is a study of how words can heal.