Experiments

Can Hypnosis Improve Memory Recall

posted: 04/11/12
hypnosis-improves-memory-recall0-1
Read more Read less
As seen in "MythBusters: Voice Flame Extinguisher."
Thinkstock

Finding: CONFIRMED

Explanation:A 2001 study from Ohio State University suggested that hypnosis doesn't aid memory recall any more than other methods, but many still put their money on it. Even police interrogators and therapists commonly use the technique to mine information from witnesses and patients.

MythBusters Kari Byron, Grant Imahara and Tory Belleci scored a point for the mesmerizing method by confirming that hypnosis can indeed dredge up memories.

The trio witnessed a fake fight between an actor posing as a deliveryman and MythBuster Jamie Hyneman, not knowing they'd be quizzed on it afterward. Questioned about details such as the actor's appearance, name and words exchanged between he and Jamie, the group couldn't summon up any critical clues. But later, when Kari, Tory and Grant were each hypnotized and asked the same series of questions, the information materialized.

Hypnotism is supposed to summon people's subconscious to the mental forefront - and in this case, it worked. Kari suddenly remembered the conversation, the guy's name came to Tory and Grant got a flashback of the actor's neck tattoo. With the help of hypnosis, the MythBusters' memories easily described the disgruntled deliveryman and corroborated the myth.

More on
MythBusters