The primary research question in the study conducted by Nash, Drake, Wiley, Khalsa & Lynn (1986), was to determine the accuracy of the memories recovered from patients under hypnosis. In other previous investigations the authors had argued that in certain conditions, the interpersonal and affective reactions of patients vary. They argue that reactions of age-regressed patients could be different and childlike as compared to the simulators. In this study, the dependent variable used was the accuracy of recollections of patients under hypnosis.
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The independent variable of the study was the age-regression of respondents during hypnosis. Results were obtained by making use of procedures, which evaluated hypnotically regressed respondents. They evaluated their relations with transitional objects such as teddy bears. However, surveys from forensic hypnosis imply that hypnotic memories of particular events are particularly prone to misrepresentation, regardless of the theatrical and intuitively persuasive performances (Nash, Drake, Wiley, Khalsa & Lynn, 1986).
To ascertain if the transitional objects observed from a hypnotic age-regressed respondent was utilised by the respondents during their childhood, the authors conducted interviews with the respondents’ parents in their second survey in 1985. The degree to which the respondent accepted or did not accept the parents’ recollection of the transitional objects was utilised as a guide.
This was a measure of the accuracy of hypnotic responses and conscious recollections. All the respondents in the study were pursuing undergraduate studies at the Ohio University. They did not have any prior experiences in relation to hypnosis. For the hypnotized group, a total 16 respondents were selected. For the control group, a total of 14 respondents were selected. In the course of the survey, 16 respondents were asked to give their accounts of transitional objects under hypnosis.
After the interview under hypnosis, the respondents were then required to take another post-hypnotic interview. During this second interview, the respondents were asked if they could recall their transitional objects when they were 3 years old. A definition of transitional objects was provided to the respondents. The respondents were asked if they could recall these objects. This phase describes the post-hypnotic recollection condition (Nash, Drake, Wiley, Khalsa & Lynn, 1986).
From the parents’ recollections, 64% of the hypnotised respondents and 50% of the control group accounts of transitional objects were confirmed. The difference in these results is not substantial. They are coherent with infant characteristics cited in other similar studies.
During the process of hypnotic age-regression, 14 hypnotic respondents recalled at least a single transitional object. In addition, more than 15 transitional objects were identified. In relation to post-hypnotic memories, respondents under hypnosis recorded about 22 accounts of transitional objects. Of the 22 objects identified by the respondents, 5 were similar to the parents’ accounts. From the 10 post-simulation control group observations, 4 members had memories of transitional objects.
A total of 6 transitional objects were recorded in relation to the post-simulation control group observations. From the control group 7 out of 10 respondents either had memories of transitional objects, which were confirmed by the parents, or corresponded with the parents’ account that transitional objects never existed (Nash, Drake, Wiley, Khalsa & Lynn, 1986).
These findings are construed to enhance the developing literature that warns against regarding hypnotic memories as being significant over conscious accounts.
Evidence from empirical research implied that hypnotized respondents were regularly confident that incorrect recollections obtained during hypnosis were in fact, correct. Hypnotised respondents in this study demonstrated the same confidence. This is because they may have carried all the memories acquired during hypnosis to the conscious interviews (Nash, Drake, Wiley, Khalsa & Lynn, 1986).
Nash, M. R., Drake, S. D., Wiley, S., Khalsa, S., & Lynn, S. J. (1986). Accuracy of recall by hypnotically age-regressed subjects. Journal Of Abnormal Psychology, 95(3), 298-300. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.95.3.298.