Posthypnotic amnesia for a first romantic relationship

forgetting the entire relationship versus forgetting selected events

Rochelle E. Cox, Amanda J. Barnier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)


This experiment investigated the impact of suggestion focus on posthypnotic amnesia (PHA) for memories of a first romantic relationship. During hypnosis, high and low hypnotisable participants recalled specific memories from this period in response to 10 cue phrases (Elicitation). They then received a PHA suggestion that targeted either the entire period or specific memories from that period. Participants' explicit memory was indexed by cued recall after PHA was administered (memories recalled to "old" and "new" cues; Recall 1) and after it was cancelled (Recall 2). A social judgement task indexed dissociations between implicit and explicit memory. PHA had the greatest impact on highs', but not lows', memory performance (in terms of memories recalled to old cues, recall latency, and qualitative memory ratings) when the suggestion targeted the entire period rather than specific events. We discuss these findings in terms of the parameters of PHA's influence on memory, its value for exploring the nature and structure of autobiographical memory, and its utility as a laboratory analogue of functional amnesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-318
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes

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