The Pioneering Work of Enrico Morselli (1852–1929) in Light of Modern Scientific Research on Hypnosis and Suggestion

This article examines research on hypnosis and suggestion, starting with the nineteenth-century model proposed by Enrico Morselli (1852–1929), an illustrious Italian psychiatrist and psychologist. The authors conducted an original psychophysiological analysis of hypnosis, distancing the work from the neuropathological concept of the time and proposing a model based on a naturalistic approach to investigating mental processes. The issues investigated by Morselli, including the definition of hypnosis and analysis of specific mental processes such as attention and memory, are reviewed in light of modern research. From the view of modern neuroscientific concepts, some problems that originated in the nineteenth century still appear to be present and pose still-open questions.

A Hypnotic Analogue of Clinical Confabulation

Confabulation—fabricated or distorted memories about oneself—occurs in many disorders, but there is no reliable technique for investigating it in the laboratory. The authors used hypnosis to model clinical confabulation by giving subjects a suggestion for either (a) amnesia for everything that had happened since they started university, (b) amnesia for university plus an instruction to fill in memory gaps, or (c) confusion about the temporal order of university events. They then indexed different types of memory on a confabulation battery. The amnesia suggestion produced the most confabulation, especially for personal semantic information. Notably, subjects confabulated by making temporal confusions. The authors discuss the theoretical implications of this first attempt to model clinical confabulation and the potential utility of such analogues.

Dissociation and the Experience of Channeling: Narratives of Israeli Women Who Practice Channeling

“Channeling” is a phenomenon in which people describe themselves as receiving messages from another personality or dimension of reality. Channeling is often regarded as dissociation, which is a disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception. This study explored the interface between channeling and dissociation through a phenomenological analysis. Qualitative data were obtained through interviews with 20 Israeli women who practice channeling. The analysis revealed 3 themes: dissociation, absorption, and control. The channelers’ descriptions correspond with what is coined as “dissociative states” and enable an emic view of the etic definition of dissociation.