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The Use and Misuse of Hypnosis in Court

  • Martin T. Orne
Part of the Critical Issues in American Psychiatry and the Law book series (CIAP, volume 2)

Abstract

Over the years, much of the forensic interest in hypnosis has dealt with the question of whether an individual can be compelled to carry out antisocial behavior* and the implications that such a possibility would have for the concept of legal responsibility. More recently, however, there has been a sudden upsurge of legal cases throughout the country which have involved the use of hypnosis in an entirely different context. These cases employ hypnosis (a) to enhance defendants’ memories in order to bring out new information which might clear them of accusations against them, or (b) to increase the recall of witnesses or victims who have observed a crime, either to facilitate the pretrial investigation or to enhance memory sufficiently so that following hypnosis the individuals can serve as eyewitnesses in court. Finally, hypnosis has been used to help in the psychological and psychiatric evaluation of defendants, especially to determine their state of mind (Kline,1979). Although this application will not be discussed substantively in this essay, all the limitations of hypnosis for the proof of fact generally apply even more strongly to its use to document the fact of a state of mind.

Keywords

Antisocial Behavior Abnormal Psychology Eyewitness Identification District Attorney Eyewitness Testimony 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin T. Orne
    • 1
  1. 1.The Institute of Pennsylvania HospitalUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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