This functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging study investigated high and low suggestible people responding to two visual hallucination suggestions with and without a hypnotic induction. Participants in the study were asked to see color while looking at a grey image, and to see shades of grey while looking at a color image. High suggestible participants reported successful alterations in color perception in both tasks, both in and out of hypnosis, and showed a small benefit if hypnosis was induced. Low suggestible people (...) could not perform the tasks successfully with or without the hypnotic induction. The fMRI results supported the self report data, and changes in brain activity were found in a number of visual areas. The results indicate that a hypnotic induction, although having the potential to enhance the ability of high suggestible people, is not necessary for the effective alteration of color perception by suggestion. (shrink)
We examined two potential correlates of hypnotic suggestibility: dissociation and cognitive inhibition. Dissociation is the foundation of two of the major theories of hypnosis and other theories commonly postulate that hypnotic responding is a result of attentional abilities . Participants were administered the Waterloo-Stanford Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form C. Under the guise of an unrelated study, 180 of these participants also completed: a version of the Dissociative Experiences Scale that is normally distributed in non-clinical populations; a latent inhibition (...) task, a spatial negative priming task, and a memory task designed to measure negative priming. The data ruled out even moderate correlations between hypnotic suggestibility and all the measures of dissociation and cognitive inhibition overall, though they also indicated gender differences. The results are a challenge for existing theories of hypnosis. (shrink)
The ‘default mode’ network refers to cortical areas that are active in the absence of goal-directed activity. In previous studies, decreased activity in the ‘default mode’ has always been associated with increased activation in task-relevant areas. We show that the induction of hypnosis can reduce anterior default mode activity during rest without increasing activity in other cortical regions. We assessed brain activation patterns of high and low suggestible people while resting in the fMRI scanner and while engaged in visual tasks, (...) in and out of hypnosis. High suggestible participants in hypnosis showed decreased brain activity in the anterior parts of the default mode circuit. In low suggestible people, hypnotic induction produced no detectable changes in these regions, but instead deactivated areas involved in alertness. The findings indicate that hypnotic induction creates a distinctive and unique pattern of brain activation in highly suggestible subjects. (shrink)
We administered suggestions to see a gray-scale pattern as colored and a colored pattern in shades of gray to 30 high suggestible and eight low suggestible students. The suggestions were administered twice, once following the induction of hypnosis and once without an induction. Besides rating the degree of color they saw in the stimuli differently, participants also rated their states of consciousness as normal, relaxed, hypnotized, or deeply hypnotized. Reports of being hypnotized were limited to highly suggestible participants and only (...) after the hypnotic induction had been administered. Reports of altered color perception were also limited to high suggestibles, but were roughly comparable regardless of whether hypnosis had been induced. These data indicate that suggestible individuals do not slip into a hypnotic state when given imaginative suggestions without the induction of hypnosis, but nevertheless report experiencing difficult suggestions for profound perceptual alterations that are pheonomenologically similar to what they report in hypnosis. (shrink)
Although the induction of a hypnotic state does not seem necessary for suggestive modulation of the Stroop effect, this important phenomenon has seemed to be dependent on the subject’s level of hypnotic suggestibility. Raz and Campbell’s study indicates that suggestion can modulate the Stroop effect substantially in very low suggestible subjects, as well as in those who are highly suggestible. This finding casts doubt on the presumed mechanism by which suggestive modulation is brought about. Research aimed at uncovering the means (...) by which low suggestible individuals are able to modulate the Stroop effect would be welcome, as would assessment of this effect in moderately suggestible people. (shrink)
Although we are sympathetic to his central thesis about the illusion of will, having previously advanced a similar proposal, Wegner's account of hypnosis is flawed. Hypnotic behavior derives from specific suggestions that are given, rather than from the induction, of trance, and it can be observed in 90% of the population. Thus, it is very pertinent to the illusion of will. However, Wegner exaggerates the loss of subjective will in hypnosis.
As understood by neodissociation and sociocognitive theorists, hypnotic responses are instances of self-deception. Neodissociation theory matches the strict definition of Sackeim and Gur (1978) and sociocognitive theory matches Mele's looser definition. Recent data indicate that many hypnotized individuals deceive themselves into holding conflicting beliefs without dissociating, but others convince themselves that the suggested state of affairs is true without simultaneously holding a contrary belief.