Hypnosis and the Iatrogenic Creation of Memory Description: Hypnosis and the Iatrogenic Creation of Memory: On the Need for a Per Se Exclusion of Testimony Based on Hypnotically Influenced Recall
An overview of Karlin and Orne (1996) and related research shows why hypnotically influenced testimony is more unreli�able and misleading than testimony based on ordinary recall. McConkey and Sheehan�s (1995) report on a recent series of forensic hypnosis cases is then used to illustrate the need for a per se exclusion. Next, several points raised by Scheflin (1996) are discussed. First, as in Amytal interviews -- whose per se exclusion most scholars accept -- testimony influenced by hypnosis tends to be believable, vivid, and misleading. Second, Scheflin�s (1994, 1996) challenge to per se exclusion based on the case of an abused child is answered. Third, the time course of Ms. Borawick�s hypnotically influenced retrieval of putative abuse memories is examined. Fourth, consideration is given to the inherent incredibility of Ms. Borawick�s claims and the costs of debating the admissibility of such testimony on a case-by-case basis. Combining clinical hypnosis and psychotherapy will not result in objectively reliable memories, since each procedure encourages recall that may be subjectively impor�tant, but is often historically inaccurate. In the therapeutic context a lack of understanding of iatrogenic effects is hazard�ous, and hypnotically influenced testimony, with rare and easily specifiable exceptions, should be automatically excluded at trial.
Cultic Studies Journal, Vol. 14, No. 2, 1997