Autobiographical memory in hypnotically suggested self and other identity enactments

Rochelle Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review


Like clinical delusions, hypnotic delusions involve experi- ences and beliefs that are compelling, have no basis in
objective reality, and are maintained in the face of contradictory
evidence. This experiment investigated hypnotic identity
delusion and, in particular, autobiographical remembering
during the delusional experience. Following a hypnotic
induction, high and low hypnotisable individuals received
one of two versions of an identity delusion: that they would
become one of their same-sex siblings (self-delusion) or that
they had an extra, nonexistent same-sex sibling (otherdelusion).
Participants then recalled personal semantic information
(viz., name, age, appearance, likes, dislikes) and
autobiographical event information. More highs than lows
responded to the suggestion and they rated their experience
as more compelling and real than lows. Also, more highs
than lows generated personal semantic information and
autobiographical recollections consistent with the suggestion.
Importantly, during a postexperimental inquiry, participants
indicated that their delusional recollections reflected reinterpretations
of past experiences and information, rather than
complete confabulations. In other words, subjects recruited
existing autobiographical material to serve their delusions.
These findings are discussed in terms of delusional information
processing and the interaction of self and autobiographical
memory, as well as the value of hypnosis as a laboratory
analogue of identity delusions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-20
Number of pages1
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes
Event37th Annual Conference of the Australian Psychological Society - Gold Coast, Australia
Duration: 27 Sep 200210 Oct 2002

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