origin of term 'post-hypnotic amnesia'

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What is the origin of the term, 'post-hypnotic amnesia'?

-- Corwin Boake (corwin.boake@uth.tmc.edu), July 08, 2001


[Posted for AC by cg.]

The word hypnotism was first used by James Braid in a pamphlet in 1842 and then the nomenclature was further developed in his 1843 book Neurypnology. So the term "post-hypnotic amnesia" could not have occurred before then. I do not believe that Braid used that term. I would guess it was first used in French--they were the people who for several decade were enthusiastic about "Braidism," before the English really caught on. I wouldn't be surprised if the first usage (French) was by Hippolyte Bernheim in his 1884 book De la suggestion dans l'etat hypnotique et dans l'etat de veille. I am afraid, however, that I cannot give you assurance about its first usage without doing a great deal of research. And perhaps not ever then, since the phenomenon of post-hypntic amnesia was so taken for granted that it may be difficult indeed to find its very first use.

Of course, if one wants to find the first reference to the reality rather than the term, it would be Puysegur (as you point out), who noted in 1784 (Memoire pour servir a l'histoire et a l'etablissement du magnetisme animal) that everyone who went into a state of "magnetic sleep" or "magnetic somnambulism" experienced amnesia afterwards and that not matter how hard he tried, he could never get them to remember what happened during that state.

-- Adam Crabtree (adamcrabtree@home.com), July 10, 2001.

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