Interrogative Suggestibility

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Katharine Shobes and John Kihlstrom, two research scholars from highly accredited institutions, provide insight into interrogative suggestibility and "memory work" in their discussion on the topics. While trying to explain the meaning of interrogative suggestibility, the authors uses an example of how it can be used to "brain wash" some patients in the clinical setting. Interrogative suggestibility is when clinicians use memory techniques like hypnosis, guided imagery and dreams to try and determine if women, who have come to see them for an unrelated illness like depression or anxiety, have been sexually abused in their childhood. The technique is highly controversial and it has led to many lawsuits, but the major claim that the authors try to formulate is interrogative suggestibility may yield memories that are grossly distorted or false outright but can be positive in some ways.

The authors discuss two quite different approaches to the study of interrogative suggestibility. The experimental approach continues to define the restraints, but it is clear that a substantial portion of subjects incorporate into their memories erroneous information contained in leading questions posed by the experimenter. The individual differences approach which documents individual differences in response to post-event misinformation, and their associations with various personality, social, and cognitive variables. There are two distinct types of suggestibility when it comes to questions, susceptibility to leading questions and response to negative feedback. Interrogative suggestibility differs from other types of suggestibility in three important ways: the questions are concerned with memory recollection of past experiences and events, the questioning procedure take space in a closed social interaction, and interrogative suggestibility builds on uncertainty of the individual and involves a stressful situation with major consequences for all involved. Interrogative...
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