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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effect of hypnosis as an interview technique on eyewitness memory McEwan, N. Hope


Seventy-two hypnotically susceptible students witnessed a videotape of a simulated bank robbery. One week later observers were interviewed in one of three "states": hypnotized, relaxed, or waking. Half the students in each of these groups received imagery instructions similar to those employed by police hypno-investigators; the remainder were instructed to use a reconstructive memory technique. Each witness answered 47 questions pertaining to the videotaped bank robbery and the "live" context of the viewing room. Five of these questions contained misinformation intended to lead the respondent into giving the wrong answer. After the interview, students attempted a photo identification task. Overall recall accuracy for both the video and "live" aspects of the critical event was high. Hypnosis had no effect on memory for details of the event, nor were hypnotized students more susceptible to the misleading information. The type of memory technique interacted with recall state to affect both the number and the proportion of errors contained in responses. This interaction differed for the video and "live" aspects of the event, suggesting limited generalization of memory for recorded events to real life situations. Confidence was significantly related to both accuracy of choice and amount of information recalled during the interview, but no such relationship was found for number or proportion of errors.

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