Is Primary Process Cognition a Feature of Hypnosis?

The division of cognition into primary and secondary processes is an important part of contemporary psychoanalytic metapsychology. Whereas primary processes are most characteristic of unconscious thought and loose associations, secondary processes generally govern conscious thought and logical reasoning. It has been theorized that an induction into hypnosis is accompanied by a predomination of primary process cognition over secondary process cognition. The authors hypothesized that highly hypnotizable individuals would demonstrate more primary process cognition as measured by a recently developed cognitive-perceptual task. This hypothesis was not supported. In fact, low hypnotizable participants demonstrated higher levels of primary process cognition. Exploratory analyses suggested a more specific effect: felt connectedness to the hypnotist seemed to promote secondary process cognition among low hypnotizable participants.