Essay Example on Memories retrieved through hypnosis









Memories retrieved through hypnosis cannot justifiably be used to prosecute someone without other evidence Traumatic experiences from a person's past are often repressed for years and even decades Hypnosis is then used to allegedly retrieve these repressed memories inclining many people to persecute others who caused the trauma within these memories However whether these memories are accurate has created controversy for decades and still science has not been able to differentiate between the two Therefore action has been undertaken within courts prohibiting retrieved memories to be used as evidence when there was no sign of prior memory as they found the testimony to be unreliable and therefore inadmissible This is largely due to how influential and impressionable memories are The unreliability of the retrieved memories is one of the main reasons they should not be used to testify against someone in court All experts agree that memories retrieved under hypnosis are often contaminated mixtures of fantasy and truth or even outright confabulations the psychologists term for illusory memories In some cases the memories retrieved may in fact be real however according to the American Psychological Association it's impossible to distinguish repressed memories from false ones without substantiating evidence The uprise in retrieved memories resulted in a challenging and controversial issue for courts worldwide when witness testimonies of recovered repressed memories regarding alleged childhood sexual abuse and violence arose 

The statute of limitations for child abuse in some jurisdictions has been extended to accommodate for repressed memories while others have rejected false memories as evidence deeming it inadmissible due to lack of reliability I believe that in all courts across Australia people should not be allowed to testify against another person based purely on their recovered memories However evidence gained from hypnosis should be admissible when there is proof the witness can recall the matter prior to the procedure and thus the procedure is used to attempt to gain more details This proof could be in any form such as a video or recordings Unless the reliability of the memories can be proven they should not be allowed to prosecute Although all memory is unreliable and events can t be recalled exactly the way they played out they all still have elements of truth they aren't fictional stories Memories are often interconnected with other people and various forms of physical proof such as pictures records security camera s Subsequently they can be used to build a case and have the right to testify as they are a necessary part of the trial Conversely allowing trials for people to prosecute somebody that they only remember abusing them after hypnosis is ludicrous and is not enough to convince people beyond a reasonable doubt due to the lack of solid physical evidence that will be able to support it 

There's no way of telling whether they are fantasy mixed with truth or just confabulation Therefore in a courtroom it's not uncommon for the defence to use this against the prosecution and causes doubt within the jury's mind about the legitimacy of the memories and accusations With doubt in the jury's mind about the reliability of the memory the prosecution will not be able to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt without any prior memory or evidence and the defendant will be acquitted The purpose of a prosecution is to prove the defendant is guilty therefore if retrieved memories are unable to convince the jurors of the defendant's guilt and can be used to prove the opposite they should not be used in testimonies However it is recognised that while some of these memories are fictional many are not and should be taken seriously Due to the inability to differentiate between the two I believe the law surrounding the ban on retrieved memory testimonies should be flexible allowing people to testify even if they don't have any evidence as long as they have some form of proof they had some form of these memories before hypnosis Whether that s a video stating what s remembered taken before the hypnosis and then a further video detailing the additional remembered details afterwards or simply a witness who knew about the crime abuse such as a neighbour partner child parent etc 

However those memories that only aroused after hypnosis with no evidence or witnesses should not be allowed to be used in a prosecution as they will only result in the same predictable outcome with the defendant being acquitted Many people would argue that memories are memories regardless of whether they are retrieved or not No memory can be played back exactly like a video in turn that makes all memories somewhat unreliable People may state that if there is even the slightest chance the person is telling the truth about being harassed or abused it should be put forward to court due to the severity of the offence That it should be a matter of the court jury and judge to decide whether or not the person's testimony is reliable enough to be used as evidence and included in the trial as opposed to the court disregarding it altogether As although these memories may be false they shouldn't be disregarded right from the start as they could equally be true and help protect others in the future from the defendant Additionally it is often assumed that memories of violent or otherwise stressful events are so well encoded that they are largely indelible and that confidently retrieved memories are likely to be accurate

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