Social–Cognitive Alternatives to Dissociation Theories of Hypnotic Involuntariness

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Three social–cognitive models are presented as alternatives to dissociation theories of hypnotic involuntariness. In Model I, people are seen as intentionally enacting responses without being aware of the volitional quality of their acts. In Model II, hypnotic behaviors are seen as prepared responses that are triggered directly by suggestion. The first model corresponds to E. R. Hilgard's (1986) neodissociation theory and the second to K. S. Bowers's (1992) theory of dissociated control, but without positing dissociative mechanisms as explanatory constructs. These constructs are replaced by a consideration of the automaticity that is inherent in commonplace intentional behavior and the degree to which subjective experience is affected by beliefs and expectations. Finally, a composite model reconciling the contradictions between the two prior social–cognitive models is presented.

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