Understanding Perceptions of Hypnotically Recovered Memories in a Civil Sexual Abuse Case

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Published in: Journal of Forensic Psychology Practice, volume 11, Number 3, 2011


Perceptions of hypnosis and hypnotically recovered testimony were examined in a civil sexual abuse case. Participants read one of eight trial transcript summaries varying in expert witness testimony and victim testimony regarding the use of hypnosis in recovering a repressed memory of sexual abuse. Results indicated liability was influenced by hypnosis. The defendant was found less liable when testimony included hypnosis to recover memories compared to memories recovered without hypnosis. Expert testimony predicted perceptions of the victim and determinations of liability. Results demonstrate juror skepticism regarding the use of hypnosis in the context of recovered memories of sexual abuse.