Posthypnotic amnesia for autobiographical memories: forgetting your first romantic relationship is easier than you think

Rochelle Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstractpeer-review

Abstract

A suggestion for posthypnotic amnesia (PHA) can lead some individuals to forget selected events or information.
Drawing on Conway’s hierarchical model of autobiographical
memory (which distinguishes between lifetime,
general, and specific memories), this study investigated
PHA’s effect on autobiographical memory; specifically,
memories of a first romantic relationship. During hypnosis,
24 high and 24 low hypnotisable participants recalled
specific memories from this period in response to 10 cue
phrases. They then received a PHA suggestion that targeted
either the specific memories (specific version) or the entire
period of their first romantic relationship (lifetime version).
Following hypnosis, explicit memory was tested by cued
recall before and after PHA was cancelled, and the dissociation
between explicit and implicit memory was tested by a
social judgement task. Consistent with previous research,
highs rather than lows showed impairments in explicit
memory, a dissociation between explicit and implicit
memory, and reversibility. Notably, for highs, the ‘lifetime’
version of the suggestion led to poorer recall and longer
response latencies than the ‘specific’ version. These findings
indicate that the focus of the PHA suggestion determines its
ability to alter the accessibility of memories, and are
discussed in the context of current models of autobiographical
memory and posthypnotic amnesia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-144
Number of pages1
JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
Volume53
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
Event36th Annual Conference of The Australian Psychological Society - Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 20 Sep 200124 Sep 2001

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