A componential approach to hypnotic memory facilitation: focused meditation, context reinstatement and eye movements



Although hypnosis is now less popular as an interviewing technique in forensic investigations than it used to be, recent evidence suggests that some of the components of hypnotic interviewing might still be useful in the development of brief memory facilitation procedures. Two experiments are described which continue this componential approach to hypnotic interviewing. In the first experiment, the effects on episodic memory of a brief context reinstatement (revivication) procedure were examined together with a focused breathing meditation technique which shares similarities with traditional hypnotic induction. A second experiment investigated the effects of horizontal eye movements which some have also associated with hypnotic responding. Results indicated that a combined context reinstatement and focused meditation procedure was more effective than context reinstatement alone in facilitating memory for an emotional event without the increase in false positive errors familiar to more traditional hypnosis techniques. In contrast, an instruction to perform horizontal eye movements was not effective in facilitating memory and, when combined with a suggestion for improved recall, produced higher confidence in incorrect responses. Implications are discussed. Copyright © 2007 British Society of Experimental & Clinical Hypnosis. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.