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Hypnotic interviews have been used to help recall problems that some eyewitnesses may present. The forensic hypnosis Basic includes a series of phases: the first is the preliminary activity that is carried out before the hypnosis session, includes the review of the basic information of the event. The hypnosis session itself includes the following phases:
Forensic hypnosis: Phases of the technique
Must be explain the role and identity of each person present. The room is prepared: level of light, temperature, removal of contact lenses and if necessary use of the bathroom.
It is useful give a brief explanation of what the session will consist of and verify the motivation of the subject. The typical techniques used during this phase are: fixation of sight, deep breathing, muscle relaxation and repetition of the instructions to relax.
It helps the subject to reach an optimum level of comfort. The typical techniques used during this phase are: count from 10 to 0, imagine descending several floors by elevator, stairs, opening and closing your eyes, arm levitation and use of imagination techniques as scenes on the beach, countryside or mountains.
3. Elicitation of information
It is the memory of the crime scene and the temporal parameters. The technique that is usually used: induced sleep.
They are the instructions to make you feel calm, relaxed in all aspects. It can help out of hypnosis counting or instructing you through an order that leaves you fully awake, alert.
It is important to differentiate the forensic hypnosis, of therapeutic hypnosis research. They are different application areas. The forensic or investigative hypnosis It focuses on the memory of the details of a real and recent criminal event, the instructions are designed to maximize the possibility of the precise memory of the witness.
The assumption that usually justifies the use of this technique is that the traces of memory of a fact are recorded and remain permanent and subconsciously in the memory of the subject being able to be recovered in a state of hypnotic suggestion.
Use of forensic hypnosis: advantages and limitations
The use of this technique is based on real cases in which his job was able to provide information that the witness was unable to offer under normal conditions. However, experimental research does not offer solid empirical support for the use of this technique in the collection of information.
According to some authors, the differences between actual testimony situations and laboratory simulations may be behind the failures obtained with this technique in psychological research.
Possible limitations of forensic hypnosis
Thus, for Smith (1983), the studies they found inefficiency of hypnosis they were characterized and differentiated from the real cases of testimony by the following characteristics:
- Type of material remembered: while in real situations the individual is involved in a significant event, in a real context and with great wealth to stimulate, laboratory studies are dedicated to investigating the effectiveness of hypnosis to increase the memory of facts or lists. of words.
- Activation level: normally the situations for which testimony is requested are characterized by high levels of arousal that produce. This aspect is one of the most frequently used to justify the use of hypnosis: to favor the memory of information about traumatic and unpleasant events for the individual.
- Intentional versus incidental learning: While in the laboratory the subjects must explicitly attend to the simulated event and know that afterwards they will be asked to remember it, in real cases the information obtained by the subject is not directed by explicit instructions for attention.
- Consequences of memory: While the consequences derived from the information provided by a "witness" in an investigation are not relevant to him or to the presumed involved, such consequences can be extreme in cases of real testimony.
In any case, the results of studies that eliminated these differences between real and laboratory situations found again negative evidence of the effectiveness of forensic hypnosis.
Possible advantages of forensic hypnosis
It seems, therefore, that The usefulness of forensic or investigative hypnosis is not empirically supported by well-controlled studies. Although we can ask ourselves why the benefits obtained with this technique can be due in real cases. According to Smith (1983), these are due to three characteristics:
- This type of technique favors the subject decrease your criteria to remember information related to the event witnessed. For example, the subject is emphasized to remember a lot of information without worrying that it is wrong.
- Reinstatement of the encoding context, since the witness is usually told to try to place himself in the actual situation.
- Increase in the number of attempts to remember event information: Since hypnosis is usually performed after the subject fails to remember the information requested, this new attempt is another opportunity to remember.
In conclusion, the important thing is to check the effect of hypnotic interviews, but using natural environments to increase the ecological validity of these studies. Also with this type of studies, data on issues such as how information is acquired, stored and retrieved from memory can be offered.
- Cano Sanz, A., & González Ordi, H. (1998). Forensic HypnosisPsychological expertise in civil and labor procedures, 217-259.
- Macías, Y. C., González, E. J. L., Rangel, Y. R., Brito, M. G., González, A. M. V., & Angulo, L. L. (2013). Hypnosis: a technique at the service of Psychology.MediSur, 11(5), 534-541.
- Ordi, H. G., & Tobal, J. J. M. (1994). Experimental versus clinical data in hypnosis research.Psychothema, 6(1), 27-38.