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Automaticity and hypnosis: a sociocognitive account


This article provides an overview of a new theory of suggested involuntariness in hypnosis, developed in conjunction with Irving Kirsch. The theory is based on the following ideas. First, high hypnotizable participants enter hypnosis with a conscious intention to feel and behave in line with suggested experiences and movements. Second, people who are easily hypnotized hold firm expectations that they will succeed in following the suggestions of the hypnotist. Third, the intention and expectation in turn function as response sets in the sense that they trigger the hypnotic response automatically. Fourth, given the intention to feel and behave in line with the hypnotist's suggestions, hypnotized individuals show no hesitation to experience the suggested movements as involuntary because (a) these movements are actually triggered automatically, and (b) the intention to cooperate with the hypnotist as well as the expectation to be able to do so create a heightened readiness to experience these actions as involuntary.

Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 1997 Jul;45(3):239-50. Lynn SJ. Psychology Department, State University of New York at Binghamton, NY 13902-6000, USA.






Posted: 11/16/2009

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