Dr Peter Naish

Monday, February 18 2013 at 7:00PM

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72a Waterloo Street

Dr Peter Naish

What's the talk about?

Many people are justifiably skeptical about hypnosis, which is understandable because a great deal of nonsense is spoken about it. On the other hand, many people believe that our minds protect themselves from terrible memories, by repressing them - that sounds sensible. However, scientists relish the counter-intuitive, so it is a delight to report that there is good evidence for the reality of hypnosis, but very little to support the notion of repressed memories, or that hypnosis can retrieve them. As will be explained, the nature of hypnosis and of memory are such that combining them to "recover" hidden material is a dangerous process - it can produce "memories" that never were!

Peter Naish has recently retired from full-time academic life, but retains a position at the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, at the University of Sussex. He has had a long interest in the mechanisms and effects of hypnosis and continues to research the subject. He is President of the Section for Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine, at the Royal Society of Medicine, and is Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board to the British False Memory Society.