Can posthypnotic suggestion (PHS) enhance cognitive abilities? The authors tested behaviorally and with event-related potentials (ERP) if sequential learning (SL), the ability to learn statistical regularities, can be enhanced with PHS. Thirty adults were assessed with the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale (Form C) and an auditory SL task. Before this task, half the sample received a PHS to enhance SL, and the other half received the same suggestion under normal waking state. Response times and ERPs indicated a strong effect of PHS. Compared to the control group, PHS inverted, attenuated, or left unaffected the response time SL effect in low, medium, and high hypnotizability participants, respectively. These results suggest that PHS cannot be used to enhance SL.
Smoking cessation remains a major health priority. Despite public campaigns against smoking and widespread availability of smoking-cessation treatments, many people continue to smoke. The authors argue that the “problem of motivation,” that is, suboptimal or fluctuating motivation to resist smoking urges and to comply with the demands of treatment, commonly undermines treatment seeking and adherence, appreciably reducing the success rates of smoking-cessation programs. The authors describe the history of the Winning Edge smoking-cessation program and discuss ways to enhance motivation before, during, and after formal treatment. They illustrate how hypnotic suggestions, administered in the context of their program, can promote cognitive, behavioral, and emotional commitment to treatment and enhance motivation to live a smoke-free life.
The authors asked breast cancer (BC) patients to participate in 1 of 3 mind-body interventions (cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), yoga, or self-hypnosis) to explore their feasibility, ease of compliance, and impact on the participants’ distress, quality of life (QoL), sleep, and mental adjustment. Ninety-nine patients completed an intervention (CBT: n = 10; yoga: n = 21; and self-hypnosis: n = 68). Results showed high feasibility and high compliance. After the interventions, there was no significant effect in the CBT group but significant positive effects on distress in the yoga and self-hypnosis groups, and also on QoL, sleep, and mental adjustment in the self-hypnosis group. In conclusion, mind-body interventions can decrease distress in BC patients, but RCTs are needed to confirm these findings.
Previous research using step-wise regression analyses found self-reported hypnotic depth (srHD) to be a function of suggestibility, trance state effects, and expectancy. This study sought to replicate and expand that research using a general state measure of hypnotic responsivity, the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory: Hypnotic Assessment Procedure (PCI-HAP). Ninety-five participants completed an Italian translation of the PCI-HAP, with srHD scores predicted from the PCI-HAP assessment items. The regression analysis replicated the previous research results. Additionally, step-wise regression analyses were able to predict the srHD score equally well using only the PCI dimension scores. These results not only replicated prior research but suggest how this methodology to assess hypnotic responsivity, when combined with more traditional neurophysiological and cognitive-behavioral methodologies, may allow for a more comprehensive understanding of that enigma called hypnosis.