Forensic Hypnosis and the Courts
Dr. Brent A. Paterline

The theory behind the use of forensic hypnosis is the belief that under hypnosis a subject’s concentration is heightened to the point where they can recall details of a crime that seem to elude them in a conscious state. Hypnosis is believed to cause subjects more to be more attentive, focused and less prone to analytical thinking which can block memory. Forensic hypnotists often claim that hypnosis has proven to be a valuable tool in enhancing or recovering past memories. Scientific research, however, suggests, fairly overwhelmingly, that hypnosis does not reliably increase the accuracy of eyewitness recall and recognition; rather, the research shows that when effects do occur, hypnosis can produce an increase in false, distorted, or manufactured memories. The purpose of this paper is to examine the treatment that the U.S. court system has accorded hypnotic testimony. An examination of early court cases reveals that hypnosis was not accepted in the courtroom, but recently courts have been more willing to admit hypnotic testimony, providing certain procedures are followed.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jlcj.v4n2a2