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Memory. 2017 Jan;25(1):57-68. Epub 2016 Jan 5.

Latent variables underlying the memory beliefs of Chartered Clinical Psychologists, Hypnotherapists and undergraduate students.

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a Department of Psychology , University of Portsmouth , Portsmouth , UK.
b Goldsmiths , University of London , London , UK.
c ACT, Inc ., Austin , TX , USA.


In courts in the United Kingdom, understanding of memory phenomena is often assumed to be a matter of common sense. To test this assumption 337 UK respondents, consisting of 125 Chartered Clinical Psychologists, 88 individuals who advertised their services as Hypnotherapists (HTs) in a classified directory, the Yellow PagesTM, and 124 first year undergraduate psychology students, completed a questionnaire that assessed their knowledge of 10 memory phenomena about which there is a broad scientific consensus. HTs' responses were the most inconsistent with the scientific consensus, scoring lowest on six of these ten items. Principal Components Analysis indicated two latent variables - reflecting beliefs about memory quality and malleability - underlying respondents' responses. In addition, respondents were asked to rate their own knowledge of the academic memory literature in general. There was no significant relationship between participants' self reported knowledge and their actual knowledge (as measured by their responses to the 10-item questionnaire). There was evidence of beliefs among the HTs that could give rise to some concern (e.g., that early memories from the first year of life are accurately stored and are retrievable).


Memory beliefs; expert witness; hypnotherapists; repression

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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