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Doing better by getting worse: posthypnotic amnesia improves random number generation


Terhune, D B; Brugger, P (2011). Doing better by getting worse: posthypnotic amnesia improves random number generation. PLoS ONE, 6(12):e29206.

Abstract

Although forgetting is often regarded as a deficit that we need to control to optimize cognitive functioning, it can have beneficial effects in a number of contexts. We examined whether disrupting memory for previous numerical responses would attenuate repetition avoidance (the tendency to avoid repeating the same number) during random number generation and thereby improve the randomness of responses. Low suggestible and low dissociative and high dissociative highly suggestible individuals completed a random number generation task in a control condition, following a posthypnotic amnesia suggestion to forget previous numerical responses, and in a second control condition following the cancellation of the suggestion. High dissociative highly suggestible participants displayed a selective increase in repetitions during posthypnotic amnesia, with equivalent repetition frequency to a random system, whereas the other two groups exhibited repetition avoidance across conditions. Our results demonstrate that temporarily disrupting memory for previous numerical responses improves random number generation.

Although forgetting is often regarded as a deficit that we need to control to optimize cognitive functioning, it can have beneficial effects in a number of contexts. We examined whether disrupting memory for previous numerical responses would attenuate repetition avoidance (the tendency to avoid repeating the same number) during random number generation and thereby improve the randomness of responses. Low suggestible and low dissociative and high dissociative highly suggestible individuals completed a random number generation task in a control condition, following a posthypnotic amnesia suggestion to forget previous numerical responses, and in a second control condition following the cancellation of the suggestion. High dissociative highly suggestible participants displayed a selective increase in repetitions during posthypnotic amnesia, with equivalent repetition frequency to a random system, whereas the other two groups exhibited repetition avoidance across conditions. Our results demonstrate that temporarily disrupting memory for previous numerical responses improves random number generation.

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6 citations in Web of Science®
7 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:21 Feb 2012 18:51
Last Modified:04 Jul 2016 14:34
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0029206
PubMed ID:22195022
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-59728

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