http://www.livescience.com/othernews/070406_past_lives.html... Subjects were asked to read aloud a list of 40 non-famous names, and then, after a two-hour wait, told that they were going to see a list consisting of three types of names: non-famous names they had already seen (from the earlier list), famous names, and names of non-famous people that they had not previously seen. Their task was to identify which names were famous.
The researchers found that, compared to control subjects who dismissed the idea of reincarnation, past-life believers were almost twice as likely to misidentify names. In particular, their tendency was to wrongly identify as famous the non-famous names they had seen in the first task. This kind of error, called a source-monitoring error, indicates that a person has difficulty recognizing where a memory came from. [continued]
I once agreed to try regressive hypnosis for a local author and hypnotist. It sounded interesting and it was free.
I visualized and recanted four or five "past lives" thoughout the session. Although the images were often vivid, and though a genuine emotional connection was often felt, I was left with the distinct feeling that my mind was grasping for a story when prompted to produce one. On some levels it all seemed very real, but I was also aware that a part of my mind was rejecting the idea that these were memories, and instead was telling me that these were involuntarily constructed memories in response to the promting of the hypnotist. When he would ask, "what do you see now", I felt compelled to produce an answer that I did not have. So in this way it did not seem real. But then I would begin to see images that immediately fell into a storyline, and as soon as these were conveyed to the author, they seemed more like genuine memories. So, while I walked away not believing that I had experienced anything supernormal or genuine, I can see where others might easily be fooled. I should also add that there was one event visualized that was very moving and difficult to shake. To this day [~fifteen years later], in spite of everything that I have said here, that particular memory seems real.