Posthypnotic amnesia for autobiographical episodes: A laboratory model of functional amnesia?

Amanda J. Barnier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


Extreme variation in the accessibility of autobiographical memory is a major characteristic of functional amnesia. On the basis of its ability to temporarily disrupt the retrieval of memory material, posthypnotic amnesia (PHA) has been proposed as a laboratory analogue of such amnesia. However, most PHA research has focused on relatively simple, nonpersonal information learned during hypnosis. This experiment extended PHA to autobiographical memory by examining high- and low-hypnotizable subjects' explicit and implicit memory of two autobiographical episodes, one of which was targeted by a PHA suggestion. The effects of PHA were consistent with the major features of functional amnesia: PHA disrupted retrieval of autobiographical information, produced a dissociation between implicit and explicit memory, and was reversible. The nature of PHA's effect on autobiographical memory and the potential utility of a PHA paradigm for investigating functional amnesia are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)232-237
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2002
Externally publishedYes


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