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Latent variables underlying the memory beliefs of chartered clinical psychologists, hypnotherapists and undergraduate students

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In courts in the United Kingdom, understanding of memory phenomena is often assumed to be a matter of common sense. To test this assumption three hundred and thirty seven UK respondents, consisting of 125 Chartered Clinical Psychologists, 88 individuals who advertised their services as Hypnotherapists in a classified directory, the Yellow PagesTM, and 124 first year undergraduate psychology students, completed a questionnaire that assessed their knowledge of ten memory phenomena about which there is a broad scientific consensus. Hypnotherapists’ 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 ten-item questionnaire). There was evidence of beliefs among the Hypnotherapists that could give rise to some concern (e.g., that early memories from the first year of life are accurately stored and are retrievable).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-68
Issue number1
Early online date5 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • Ost_et_al_Latent_variables_post_print_23_11_15

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Memory on 05/01/2016, available online:

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 742 KB, PDF document

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