We investigated the hypothesis that inducing a dissociative response (detachment) in healthy volunteers while they were watching a trauma film would lead to increased numbers of intrusive memories of the film during the following week. Hypnotized participants were given suggestions to dissociate during part of the film, and to watch the rest of the film normally from their own perspective. The order of these conditions, and the section of film watched under the two conditions, were counterbalanced. As predicted, watching the film under both conditions led to increases in dissociation. Explicit suggestions to dissociate were generally effective in inducing higher levels of dissociation. Contrary to prediction, there were no more intrusive memories of sections of the film for which participants had received dissociation suggestions. Implications of our results for views of the relationship between peri-traumatic dissociation and intrusive memories are discussed.
J Trauma Dissociation. 2006;7(4):91-113. Holmes EA, Oakley DA, Stuart AD, Brewin CR. Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellow, University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK. firstname.lastname@example.org