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Evidence for Hypnotically Refreshed Testimony: The View From the Laboratory

NCJ Number
Law and Human Behavior Volume: 18 Issue: 6 Dated: (December 1994) Pages: 635-651
N M Steblay; R K Bothwell
Date Published
17 pages
Evidence of differences in recall accuracy for hypnotized versus nonhypnotized eyewitnesses in forensically relevant settings was examined in this meta-analytic review of 24 research studies.
Studies were selected for inclusion in the analysis through a computer search of abstract services and through a review of references cited in the relevant literature. The primary sample included 12 published reports and four unpublished dissertations that represented 983 subjects. Study findings showed that recall accuracy for nonleading questions after a 1- to 2-day delay favored hypnotized subjects. Less accurate recall, however, was observed for hypnotized subjects following a delay of less than 24 hours or a 1-week delay. The recall of hypnotized subjects also displayed more intrusion of uncued errors and higher levels of psuedomemory. In addition, hypnotized subjects expressed higher levels of confidence in recall accuracy compared to nonhypnotized subjects. The authors recommend caution when using hypnotically refreshed memory in the courtroom, since the courtroom setting does not allow easy differentiation between valid memories and confabulation or error. 41 references, 1 footnote, and 2 tables