Role of Beliefs About Hypnotic States as a Moderator Variable: A Reexamination of the Relationship Between Reactance and Hypnotizability

The hypothesis that beliefs about hypnosis determine the amount of psychological reactance aroused was tested. Participants were administered a measure of trait reactance to therapist directives (Therapeutic Reactance Scale; TRS), the Beliefs about Hypnotic State Questionnaire (BHSQ–R), and behavioral and subjective scales concerning hypnotic response. Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed significant interactions between BHSQ–R subscales and TRS. The findings suggest that the arousal of psychological reactance to hypnosis is determined by individuals’ trait reactance levels acting together with their interpretations of the hypnotic situation. The role of beliefs about hypnotic states as a moderator of the relationship between personality and hypnotizability was discussed.

Think Yourself Thin: Concern for Appropriateness Mediates the Link Between Hypnotizability and Disordered Eating

There has been no research examining why people with disordered eating tend to be highly hypnotizable. The authors examine the hypothesis that concern for appropriateness mediates the association between hypnotizability and disordered eating. Fifty participants aged 15 to 30 completed the Eating Attitudes Test–26 (EAT–26) and the Concern for Appropriateness Scale (CAS) and were administered the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale: Form C (SHSS:C). EAT–26 scores predicted CAS scores (β = 0.24, p < .001), CAS scores predicted SHSS:C scores (β = 0.38, p < .001), and the mediation model was significant (Sobel Test; R2 = .24, z = 2.54, p < .01). Individuals with problematic eating attitudes may tend to be more hypnotizable than those with normal eating attitudes at least in part because they are highly influenced by interpersonal messages.

The Effect of a Suggestion to Generate Interest in a Reading in Highly Hypnotizable People: A Promising Use in Education

Highly hypnotizable participants in the experimental condition were given a waking state suggestion that a reading not intended to be interesting would be fascinating and remarkable. Controls were given task motivational instructions, in which they were told to try to make it interesting. The suggestion had a major influence on participants’ enjoyment of the reading, though no effect was found for reading comprehension. Qualitative interviews indicated that the suggestion had a profound impact on some, especially those most responsive to hypnosis. The lack of an effect in reading comprehension may be due to large within-group variances. Findings suggest that hypnotic suggestion, when properly employed, may have a potential use in enhancing the learning capabilities of highly hypnotizable people.

Methylphenidate Facilitates Hypnotizability in Adults With ADHD: A Naturalistic Cohort Study

Impaired attention may impede learning of adaptive skills in ADHD. While manipulations that reduce competition between attentional processes, including hypnosis, could boost learning, their feasibility in ADHD is unknown. Because hypnotic phenomena rely on attentional mechanisms, the authors aimed to assess whether stimulants could enhance hypnotizability in ADHD. In the current study, stimulant-naïve patients seeking treatment for ADHD-related symptoms were assessed with the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale (SHSS) at baseline and during methylphenidate treatment. Methylphenidate dose and SHSS increase were negatively correlated with baseline SHSS scores. Upon reaching effective doses, mean SHSS scores increased significantly. All patients who had been poorly hypnotizable at baseline demonstrated moderate-to-high hypnotizability at follow-up. The data support methylphenidate enhancement of hypnotizability in ADHD, thus highlighting novel treatment approaches for this disabling disorder.

Hungarian Norms for the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A

Hungarian norms for the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A (HGSHS:A) are presented. The Hungarian translation of the HGSHS:A was administered under standard conditions to 434 participants (190 males, 244 females) of several professions. In addition to the traditional self-scoring, hypnotic behavior was also recorded by trained observers. Female participants proved to be more hypnotizable than males and so were psychology students and professionals as compared to nonpsychologists. Hypnotizability varied across different group sizes. The normative data—including means, standard deviations, and indicators of reliability—are comparable with previously published results. The authors conclude that measuring observer-scores increases the ecological validity of the scale. The Hungarian version of the HGSHS:A seems to be a reliable and valid measure of hypnotizability.

Factor Analysis of the Elkins Hypnotizability Scale

Assessment of hypnotizability can provide important information for hypnosis research and practice. The Elkins Hypnotizability Scale (EHS) consists of 12 items and was developed to provide a time-efficient measure for use in both clinical and laboratory settings. The EHS has been shown to be a reliable measure with support for convergent validity with the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form C (r = .821, p < .001). The current study examined the factor structure of the EHS, which was administered to 252 adults (51.3% male; 48.7% female). Average time of administration was 25.8 minutes. Four factors selected on the basis of the best theoretical fit accounted for 63.37% of the variance. The results of this study provide an initial factor structure for the EHS.

Paradoxical Response to an Emotional Task: Trait Characteristics and Heart-Rate Dynamics

The present study evaluated the heart-rate dynamics of subjects reporting decreased (responders) or paradoxically increased relaxation (nonresponders) at the end of a threatening movie. Heart-rate dynamics were characterized by indices extracted through recurrence quantification analysis (RQA) and detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA). These indices were studied as a function of a few individual characteristics: hypnotizability, gender, absorption, anxiety, and the activity of the behavioral inhibition and activation systems (BIS/BAS). Results showed that (a) the subjective experience of responsiveness is associated with the activity of the behavioral inhibition system and (b) a few RQA and DFA indices are able to capture the influence of cognitive-emotional traits, including hypnotizability, on the responsiveness to the threatening task.

Advancing Research and Practice: The Revised APA Division 30 Definition of Hypnosis

This article describes the history, rationale, and guidelines for developing a new definition of hypnosis by the Society of Psychological Hypnosis, Division 30 of the American Psychological Association. The definition was developed with the aim of being concise, heuristic, and allowing for alternative theories of the mechanisms (to be determined in empirical scientific study). The definition of hypnosis is presented as well as definitions of the following related terms: hypnotic induction, hypnotizability, and hypnotherapy. The implications for advancing research and practice are discussed. The definitions are presented within the article.

Hypnotizability, Not Suggestion, Influences False Memory Development

Hypnotizability influences the development of false memories. In Experiment 1, participants heard a positive or negative suggestion regarding hypnosis and then listened to 8 Deese–Roediger–McDermott (DRM) false memory paradigm lists in a hypnotic state. Neither hypnosis nor prehypnotic suggestion affected memory. Highly hypnotizable participants were more accurate in recall and recognition. In Experiment 2, suggestions were delivered in the form of feedback. Participants heard a positive or negative suggestion about their performance prior to either the encoding or retrieval of 8 DRM lists. Neither accurate nor false memories were affected by the suggestion. Highly hypnotizable individuals recognized fewer critical lures if they received a negative suggestion about their performance. These results highlight the unusual role of hypnotizability in the creation of false memories.

Carriers of the COMT Met/Met Allele Have Higher Degrees of Hypnotizability, Provided That They Have Good Attentional Control: A Case of Gene–Trait Interaction

Genetic factors may explain part of the interindividual variability in hypnotizability. A new avenue that may provide more comprehensive understanding of the phenotypic effects of genetic variations is the study of gene–trait interaction. In this study, the authors investigate the relationship of the dopamine-related COMT and the serotonin-related 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms to hypnotizability by taking individual differences in executive attention into account. Homozygosity for the COMT Met allele, putatively linked to the capability or proneness to dissociate from reality, was associated with high hypnotizability only if paired with high-attention ability. The finding can be integrated into hypnosis theory and represents a case of gene–trait interaction suggesting that investigating the effects of a gene in the context of relevant psychological traits may further elucidate gene-brain-behavior relationships.