Mesmerizing Memories: Brain Substrates of Episodic Memory Suppression in Posthypnotic Amnesia

Avi Mendelsohn, Yossi Chalamish, Alexander Solomonovich, Yadin Dudai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Two groups of participants, one susceptible to posthypnotic amnesia (PHA) and the other not, viewed a movie. A week later, they underwent hypnosis in the fMRI scanner and received a suggestion to forget the movie details after hypnosis until receiving a reversal cue. The participants were tested twice for memory for the movie and for the context in which it was shown, under the posthypnotic suggestion and after its reversal, while their brain was scanned. The PHA group showed reduced memory for movie but not for context while under suggestion. Activity in occipital, temporal, and prefrontal areas differed among the groups, and, in the PHA group, between suggestion and reversal conditions. We propose that whereas some of these regions subserve retrieval of long-term episodic memory, others are involved in inhibiting retrieval, possibly already in a preretrieval monitoring stage. Similar mechanisms may also underlie other forms of functional amnesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-170
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to O. Furman, E. Furst, R. Ludmer, M. Moscovitch, U. Nili, S. Rosenbaum, T. Sharot, and G. Winocur for discussions and P. Lichtenberg for the Hebrew version of the Stanford Scale for Hypnotic Susceptibility. This work was supported by grants to Y.D. from The Minerva Foundation and The Nella and Leon Benoziyo Center for Neurological Diseases.



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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