The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Volume 59, Number 3 - July 2011 - English
The Sociocognitive and Dissociation Theories of Hypnosis: Toward a Rapprochement
STEVEN JAY LYNN AND JOSEPH P. GREEN
Abstract: In the introductory article to a special issue on the sociocognitive perspective of hypnosis, the authors contrast two influential hypnosis theories--the sociocognitive and dissociation perspectives--and argue that recent developments in sociocognitive theory (i.e., response set theory) and in the broader field of cognitive psychology pertaining to nonconscious information processing and goal-directed action make possible a rapprochement between theoretical accounts that have vied for attention and empirical support.
The Impact of Hypnotic Suggestibility in Clinical Care Settings
GUY H. MONTGOMERY, JULIE B. SCHNUR, AND DANIEL DAVID
Abstract: Hypnotic suggestibility has been described as a powerful predictor of outcomes associated with hypnotic interventions. However, there have been no systematic approaches to quantifying this effect across the literature. This meta-analysis evaluates the magnitude of the effect of hypnotic suggestibility on hypnotic outcomes in clinical settings. PsycINFO and PubMed were searched from their inception through July 2009. Thirty-four effects from 10 studies and 283 participants are reported. Results revealed a statistically significant overall effect size in the small to medium range (r = .24; 95% Confidence Interval = -0.28 to 0.75), indicating that greater hypnotic suggestibility led to greater effects of hypnosis interventions. Hypnotic suggestibility accounted for 6% of the variance in outcomes. Smaller sample size studies, use of the SHCS, and pediatric samples tended to result in larger effect sizes. The authors question the usefulness of assessing hypnotic suggestibility in clinical contexts.
Are High Hypnotizables Especially Vulnerable to False Memory Effects? A Sociocognitive Perspective
GRAHAM F. WAGSTAFF, JACQUELINE M. WHEATCROFT, AND ANNA CHRISTINA JONES
Abstract: This paper examines issues raised by a recent UK legal case in which the defense argued that the accusations made by the highly hypnotizable plaintiff were likely based on false memories. The authors argue that the evidence related to hypnotizability and false memory production is inconsistent but may be illuminated by a sociocognitive perspective. They present 2 preliminary studies that indicate that when the instructions imply that accurate reporting is a feature of hypnosis, higher hypnotizables may actually be more resistant than low or medium hypnotizables to false memories arising from misleading information given during hypnosis. They conclude that, when memory accuracy is emphasized rather than productivity, there is little evidence to link high hypnotizability with a propensity to produce false memories.
Responding to Hypnotic and Nonhypnotic Suggestions: Performance Standards, Imaginative Suggestibility, and Response Expectancies
ERIC C. MEYER AND STEVEN JAY LYNN
Abstract: This study examined the relative impact of hypnotic inductions and several other variables on hypnotic and nonhypnotic responsiveness to imaginative suggestions. The authors examined how imaginative suggestibility, response expectancies, motivation to respond to suggestions, and hypnotist-induced performance standards affected participants' responses to both hypnotic and nonhypnotic suggestions and their suggestion-related experiences. Suggestions were administered to 5 groups of participants using a test-retest design: (1) stringent performance standards; (2) lenient performance standards; (3) hypnosis test-retest; (4) no-hypnosis test-retest; and (5) no-hypnosis/hypnosis control. The authors found no support for the influence of a hypnotic induction or performance standards on responding to suggestions but found considerable support for the role of imaginative suggestibility and response expectancies in predicting responses to both hypnotic and nonhypnotic suggestions.
The Altered State Issue: Dead or Alive?
Abstract: Theoretical positions on the altered-state issue are viewed on a continuum rather than a dichotomy. While differences between some pairs of positions have little or no substantive interest, others are important to understanding the nature of hypnotic phenomena. Recent brain-imaging data from the University of Hull are reviewed with respect to their implications concerning the existence and functional significance of the hypothesized hypnotic state.
Does Neuroimaging of Suggestion Elucidate Hypnotic Trance?
Abstract: Contemporary studies in the cognitive neuroscience of attention and suggestion shed new light on the underlying neural mechanisms that operationalize these effects. Without adhering to important caveats inherent to imaging of the living human brain, however, findings from brain imaging studies may enthrall more than explain. Scholars, practitioners, professionals, and consumers must realize that the influence words exert on focal brain activity is measurable but that these measurements are often difficult to interpret. While recent brain imaging research increasingly incorporates variations of suggestion and hypnosis, correlating overarching hypnotic experiences with specific brain substrates remains tenuous. This paper elucidates the mounting role of cognitive neuroscience, including the relative merits and intrinsic limitations of neuroimaging, in better contextualizing trance-like concepts.