Inconsistencies and anomalies of response as a defining characteristic of hypnosis

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Investigated the hypothesis that a major defining characteristic of hypnosis can be observed in inconsistencies and in gross anomalies in the hypnotized person's behavior, as has been suggested by M. T. Orne (1974). This hypothesis was evaluated using hypnotic age regression to index inconsistencies and anomalies. 44 undergraduates were selected for high, medium, and low hypnotic susceptibility, and the insusceptible Ss were given Orne's simulation instructions. All Ss were hypnotically age regressed to age 5 yrs and presented with 15 standard questions previously sampled from a group of 20 kindergarten children. Immediately afterwards, the Ss were regressed to age 1 yr and presented with 3 further questions. The central hypothesis of the study was supported partially in that the highly susceptible Ss showed significantly greater inconsistency in their response, as defined in terms of 3 different criterion measures. There was no evidence of significantly more gross anomaly in their responses. Results indicate that hypnotized, highly susceptible Ss in hypnosis differ from less susceptible Ss in terms of qualitative differences in their cognitive functioning and in their subjective experience of hypnosis. (8 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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