Pezdek and Lam [Pezdek, K. & Lam, S. . What research paradigms have cognitive psychologists used to study “False memory,” and what are the implications of these choices? Consciousness and Cognition] claim that the majority of research into false memories has been misguided. Specifically, they charge that false memory scientists have been misusing the term “false memory,” relying on the wrong methodologies to study false memories, and misapplying false memory research to real world situations. We review each of these claims (...) and highlight the problems with them. We conclude that several types of false memory research have advanced our knowledge of autobiographical and recovered memories, and that future research will continue to make significant contributions to how we understand memory and memory errors. (shrink)
This functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging study investigated high and low suggestible people responding to two visual hallucination suggestions with and without a hypnotic induction. Participants in the study were asked to see color while looking at a grey image, and to see shades of grey while looking at a color image. High suggestible participants reported successful alterations in color perception in both tasks, both in and out of hypnosis, and showed a small benefit if hypnosis was induced. Low suggestible people (...) could not perform the tasks successfully with or without the hypnotic induction. The fMRI results supported the self report data, and changes in brain activity were found in a number of visual areas. The results indicate that a hypnotic induction, although having the potential to enhance the ability of high suggestible people, is not necessary for the effective alteration of color perception by suggestion. (shrink)
We examined two potential correlates of hypnotic suggestibility: dissociation and cognitive inhibition. Dissociation is the foundation of two of the major theories of hypnosis and other theories commonly postulate that hypnotic responding is a result of attentional abilities . Participants were administered the Waterloo-Stanford Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form C. Under the guise of an unrelated study, 180 of these participants also completed: a version of the Dissociative Experiences Scale that is normally distributed in non-clinical populations; a latent inhibition (...) task, a spatial negative priming task, and a memory task designed to measure negative priming. The data ruled out even moderate correlations between hypnotic suggestibility and all the measures of dissociation and cognitive inhibition overall, though they also indicated gender differences. The results are a challenge for existing theories of hypnosis. (shrink)
The ‘default mode’ network refers to cortical areas that are active in the absence of goal-directed activity. In previous studies, decreased activity in the ‘default mode’ has always been associated with increased activation in task-relevant areas. We show that the induction of hypnosis can reduce anterior default mode activity during rest without increasing activity in other cortical regions. We assessed brain activation patterns of high and low suggestible people while resting in the fMRI scanner and while engaged in visual tasks, (...) in and out of hypnosis. High suggestible participants in hypnosis showed decreased brain activity in the anterior parts of the default mode circuit. In low suggestible people, hypnotic induction produced no detectable changes in these regions, but instead deactivated areas involved in alertness. The findings indicate that hypnotic induction creates a distinctive and unique pattern of brain activation in highly suggestible subjects. (shrink)
We administered suggestions to see a gray-scale pattern as colored and a colored pattern in shades of gray to 30 high suggestible and eight low suggestible students. The suggestions were administered twice, once following the induction of hypnosis and once without an induction. Besides rating the degree of color they saw in the stimuli differently, participants also rated their states of consciousness as normal, relaxed, hypnotized, or deeply hypnotized. Reports of being hypnotized were limited to highly suggestible participants and only (...) after the hypnotic induction had been administered. Reports of altered color perception were also limited to high suggestibles, but were roughly comparable regardless of whether hypnosis had been induced. These data indicate that suggestible individuals do not slip into a hypnotic state when given imaginative suggestions without the induction of hypnosis, but nevertheless report experiencing difficult suggestions for profound perceptual alterations that are pheonomenologically similar to what they report in hypnosis. (shrink)
As reported by Vertes & Eastman, convincing evidence rules out any role for REM sleep in memory consolidation. However, they do not provide convincing evidence for their claim that sleep in generaI – as opposed to REM sleep per se – has no influence on memory consolidation. Recent correlational data suggest that the number of NREM/REM cycles is associated with performance on a verbal recall task. [Vertes & Eastman].
The very clever studies reviewed by Smith et al. convincingly demonstrate metacognitive skills in animals. However, interpreting the findings on metacognitive monitoring as showing conscious cognitive processes in animals is not warranted, because some metacognitive monitoring observed in humans appear to be automatic rather than controlled.
This commentary deals with criteria for assigning truth values to memory contents. A parallel with perception shows how truth values can be assigned by considering subjects' beliefs about the truth state of the memory content. This topic is also relevant to the study of processes of control over retrieval.
In three experiments, we found that after a subtle suggestion, subjects falsely recognized words from their own dreams and thought they had been presented during the waking state. The procedure used in these studies involved three phases. Subjects studied a list of words on Day 1. On Day 2, they received a false suggestion that some words from their previously reported dreams had been presented on the list. On Day 3, they tried to recall only what had occurred on the (...) initial list. Subjects falsely recognized their dream words at a very high rate—sometimes as often as they accurately recognized true words. They reported that they genuinely “remembered” the dream words, as opposed to simply “knowing” that they had been previously presented. These findings, which suggest that dreams can sometimes be mistaken for reality, have significant implications for the practice of psychotherapy. (shrink)