Some highly hypnotizable individuals have reported changes in objects’ color with suggestions given in normal waking state. However, it is not clear whether this occurs only in their imagination. The authors show that although subjects could imagine colors, a posthypnotic suggestion was necessary for seeing altered colors, even for a hypnotic virtuoso. She reported posthypnotic color alterations also selectively in response to specific target shapes in briefly presented object arrays. Surprisingly, another highly hypnotizable person showed a very different pattern of results. The control participants could not simulate virtuosos’ results by applying cognitive strategies. The results imply that hypnosis can alter the functioning of automatic visual processes but only in some of the most hypnotizable individuals.
Measuring hypnotizability is an integral part of hypnosis research and also relevant for predicting the effectiveness of hypnosis-based therapies. The Elkins Hypnotizability Scale (EHS) was designed to meet the needs of modern hypnosis research and clinical practice. Reliability, validity, and normative data were explored by subjecting 230 participants to the EHS and Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale: Form C (SHSS:C). The EHS demonstrated adequate internal consistency (α = .78), its items showed good discriminating ability, and scores of the two scales were highly correlated (rho = .86). Results indicate that the EHS is a reliable and valid tool to assess hypnotizability. Further research is needed to establish its role as a surrogate for the SHSS:C.
Earlier studies have shown hypnotizability-related postural effects of visual suppression and of leg and neck proprioceptive alteration. This study completes this investigation by demonstrating the postural effects of asymmetric tactile foot stimulation in standing participants with different hypnotizability scores. During this stimulation, body sway changed in medium-to-high more than in low-to-medium hypnotizable participants. Findings support the view that high hypnotizability is associated with higher vulnerability of posture to sensory alteration; together with earlier results, they suggest a role of the cerebellum in the observed hypnotizability-related differences and prompt investigation of cerebral structures and factors potentially responsible for both the cognitive and physiological aspects of hypnotizability.
The aim of this paper is to complement the recently revised American Psychological Association definition of hypnotizability. It (a) lists a few differences in sensorimotor integration between subjects with high and low hypnotizability scores in the ordinary state of consciousness and in the absence of suggestions; (b) proposes that hypnotizability-related cerebellar peculiarities may account for them; (c) suggests that the cerebellum could also be involved in cognitive aspects of hypnotizability; (d) explains why the information derived from studies of sensorimotor and cardiovascular aspects of hypnotizability may be relevant to its definition and useful in orienting further experimental research in the field of hypnosis.
Hypnosis is known to be effective in the treatment of pediatric pain. To better understand which strategies might be most useful, more knowledge is needed regarding the strategies that are actually used by experienced clinicians and the factors that influence their use. To address this knowledge gap, 35 health care professionals completed an online survey on the use of hypnosis in the management of pediatric chronic pain. The findings indicate that clinicians vary their use of hypnotic strategies primarily as a function of a patient’s age but not as a function of theoretical orientation or amount of experience. The findings may be useful for guiding clinicians in their selection of strategies and suggestions when working with children with pain.
According to recent findings, interhemispheric interactions and information connectivity represent crucial mechanisms used in processing information across various sensory modalities. To study these interactions, the authors measured bilateral electrodermal activity (EDA) in 33 psychiatric outpatients. The results show that during congruent Stroop stimuli in hypnosis the patients with higher hypnotizability manifest a decreased level of interhemispheric information transfer measured by pointwise transinformation (PTI) that was calculated from left and right EDA records. These results show that specific shifts of attentional focus during hypnosis are related to changes of interhemispheric interactions that may be reflected in neural connectivity calculated from the bilateral EDA measurement. This attentional shift may cause dissociated attentional control disturbing integrative functions of consciousness and contextual experiences.
The development of new psychotherapies such as EMDR has led to numerous fresh approaches to both the treatment of trauma and to the understanding of underlying psychopathology. A unified view appears to be slowly emerging in an attempt to corroborate clinical practice with neurobiological data. This article attempts to demonstrate links between alternate psychotherapies by highlighting what appears to be an invariant among these approaches, namely “letting go.” This concept refers to a psycho-physical dynamic that combines psychological dissociation and re-association, as well as the body’s vagotonic mechanisms. Following an explanation of this process, it is demonstrated how letting go can manifest itself physiologically and why this may be significant in the study of trauma.
Little attention has been paid to the effectiveness of hypnosis in improving the results of surgery in Iran. One hundred and twenty patients scheduled for laparoscopic cholecystectomy were randomly divided into either control (standard care) or experimental (hypnosis) groups. Prior to surgery and again after surgery abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting were assessed. The results suggest that hypnosis could effectively reduce pain after laparoscopic cholecystectomy and significantly reduce hospitalization time.