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Author Topic: Neuro-Hypnotism: Prospects for Hypnosis and Neuroscience  (Read 3474 times)

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Neuro-Hypnotism: Prospects for Hypnosis and Neuroscience
« on: June 30, 2019, 09:03:37 AM »

Again, on the topic of using hypnotism as a possible "cure" for addictive or negative behaviours ...

Various induction techniques can be referenced at
to do such things as “You will STOP smoking/drinking/choosing bad friends/buying crappy drugs/using useless forums (like this one) etc.!”  ::)

I was also wondering how this might work with the notable chemical hypnotic Zolpidem TartrateWiki and even with sub-anesthetic doses of dissociatives (?) and even with futuristic non-invasive DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation), either alone or in concert.

Anyway, here is a technical report on many things "hypnosis".

Neuro-Hypnotism: Prospects for Hypnosis and Neuroscience

some excerpts follow ...

The neurophysiological substrates of hypnosis have been subject to speculation since the phenomenon got its name. Until recently, much of this research has been geared toward understanding hypnosis itself, including the biological bases of individual differences in hypnotizability, state-dependent changes in cortical activity occurring with the induction of hypnosis, and the neural correlates of response to particular hypnotic suggestions (especially the clinically useful hypnotic analgesia).

More recently, hypnosis has begun to be employed as a method for manipulating subjects' mental states, both cognitive and affective, to provide information about the neural substrates of experience, thought, and action. This instrumental use of hypnosis is particularly well-suited for identifying the neural correlates of conscious and unconscious perception and memory, and of voluntary and involuntary action.

1. Introduction

Hypnosis is a social interaction in which one person, designated the subject, responds to suggestions offered by another person, designated the hypnotist, for imaginative experiences involving alterations in conscious perception and memory, and the voluntary control of action. In the classic instance, these experiences are accompanied by subjective conviction bordering on delusion, and feelings of involuntariness bordering on compulsion (Kihlstrom, 2008).

Hypnosis provided the foundation for the development of both psychogenic theories of mental illness and insight forms of psychotherapy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (Crabtree, 1993). More recently, hypnosis contributed to the “consciousness revolution” within psychology and cognitive science (Hilgard, 1987), and to the revival of research interest in unconscious mental life (Kihlstrom, 1987, 2007). For comprehensive coverage of hypnosis research, see the volume edited by Nash and Barnier (2008).

Hypnosis has its historical roots in the techniques of “animal magnetism” practiced by Franz Anton Mesmer in the 18th century (Gauld, 1992), but the modern era of hypnosis research effectively began with the extensive program pursued by C.L. Hull (1933), leading to a "golden age" of hypnosis research facilitated by the development of behavioral scales for the measurement of hypnotizability (Hilgard, 1965).

Most research in this area has focused on the behavioral effects of hypnotic suggestions, the cognitive and social processes which underlie these behaviors, and the correlates of individual differences in hypnotizability (for an overview, see Nash and Barnier, 2007). However, there has long been interest in the neural underpinnings of hypnosis. James Braid coined the term hypnotism to shed the excess baggage associated with animal magnetism and mesmerism, but -- in an era where mind-body dualism was much more popular than it is now -- initially added the prefix neuro- to make clear that hypnosis had a material basis in brain activity (Kihlstrom, 1992b; but see Gravitz and Gerton, 1984).

Braid's own theory focused on a paralysis of nervous centers which presumably resulted from ocular fixation, and which induced a sleep-like state (Kravis, 1988). William James endorsed the view that hypnosis was a sleep-like state (Kihlstrom and McConkey, 1990), while Pavlov believed that the effects of hypnosis reflected a state of cortical inhibition (Edmonston, 1981).

In this paper, I provide an overview of the cognitive neuroscience of hypnosis, with emphasis on the most salient ideas. Most of this research focuses on three related questions:

(1) the neural correlates of individual differences in hypnotizability
(2) alterations in neural activity accompanying the induction of hypnosis, especially in individuals who are highly hypnotizable to begin with
(3) the neural correlates of response to individual hypnotic suggestions such as analgesia or motor paralysis

While most of these studies have been geared toward understanding hypnosis, a few investigators have used hypnosis as a tool for investigating the neural correlates of mental activity in general. Due to space considerations, this review is highly selective (for alternative coverage, see Barabasz and Barabasz, 2008; Oakley, 2008; Oakley and Halligan, 2009, 2010).

2. Hypnosis, Hypnotizability, and Suggestion

The single most important fact about hypnosis is that there are wide individual differences in hypnotizability, or the degree to which people respond to hypnotic procedures (Laurence et al., 2008). Unfortunately, these cannot be predicted with any accuracy from the usual sorts of paper-and-pencil questionnaires. Rather, they can only be measured by work-samples of actual hypnotic performance, collected under standardized conditions, with instruments such as the group-administered Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility and the individually administered Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form C (Woody and Barnier, 2008).

Hypnotizability, so measured, yields a roughly normal (bell-shaped) distribution of scores: most people are at least moderately responsive to hypnosis, while relatively few "insusceptible" individuals are entirely unresponsive to hypnosis, and relatively few "virtuosos" respond positively to virtually every suggestion. Very young children appear to be relatively unresponsive to hypnosis.

Hypnotizability assessed in college students remains relatively stable over the next 25 years, and then may decline somewhat in middle and old age. Hypnotizability is only one form of suggestibility, and is modestly correlated with "absorption", a personality construct reflecting a disposition to enter states of narrowed or expanded attention and a blurring of boundaries between oneself and the object of perception. Absorption, in turn, is related to "openness to experience", one of the 'Big Five" dimensions of personality.

Individual differences in hypnotizability impose important constraints on hypnosis research: one can study hypnosis only in those who can experience it. For this reason, investigators cannot simply expose randomly selected subjects to a hypnotic induction. The canonical design for hypnosis research involves administering a standard hypnotic induction, or a control procedure, to subjects classified (on the basis of the standardized scales) as low, medium, or high in hypnotizability (Sheehan & Perry, 1976).

Such a design permits assessments of both the correlates of hypnotizability (in the absence of hypnotic induction) and the effects of the induction procedure (independent of hypnotizability). Of particular interest, of course, is the interaction of these factors -- i.e., how highly hypnotizable subjects behave following a hypnotic induction, compared to some control condition.

3. Studies of Hypnosis and Hypnotizability

A design like this is often favored by investigators who wish to search for the neural correlates of hypnosis -- perhaps to address the question of whether hypnosis is, indeed, an altered state of consciousness (e.g., Kallio and Revensuo, 2003; Kallio and Revensuo, 2005; Kihlstrom, 2005, 2007; Lynn et al., 2007). However, physiological data is not decisive in this respect -- not least because biological markers must be validated against subjective reports of an altered state of consciousness. Following the logic of converging operations, it seems best to infer alterations in consciousness from the convergence of four types of variables: an induction procedure, consequent alterations in subjective experience, associated changes in overt behavior, and physiological changes (Kihlstrom, 1984, 2005, 2007).

3.1. The EEG Spectrum

Historically, the most popular approach to understanding the neural substrates of hypnosis has been to examine EEG correlates of hypnotizability and changes in the EEG spectrum which occur when hypnosis is induced (e.g., Lee et al., 2007; for a comprehensive listing of studies, see Hinterberger et al., 2011; Vaitl et al., 2005). Many of these studies were “fishing expeditions”, conducted in the hopes that they would yield interesting results, rather than tests of specific hypothesis about the nature or locus of electrocortical changes associated with hypnosis. Still, they were not always without some theoretical rationale, however weak.

For example, in the late 1960s it was suggested that hypnotizability and hypnosis were associated with increased density of alpha activity in the EEG -- a hypothesis which drew strength from early reports of increased alpha density in Zen and yoga meditation, as well as the meditation-like experiences once thought to be produced by EEG alpha biofeedback.

Similar considerations, as well as speculations concerning the relevance of 40-Hz activity to focused arousal, perceptual binding, and consciousness itself, prompted investigation of the gamma band of the EEG (DePascalis, 1999, 2007). Finally, in a manner reminiscent of the 19th-century analogy between hypnosis and sleep, the association between theta activity and hypnagogic imagery led some investigators to focus on this portion of the EEG spectrum (Sabourin et al., 1990; Williams and Gruzelier, 2001).

The most thorough of these studies was reported by Ray and his colleagues, who took advantage of advanced EEG technology to examine alpha, beta, and theta activity recorded separately from frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital sites of both left and right hemispheres in hypnotizable and insusceptible male and female college students before and after a hypnotic induction (Graffin et al., 1995; Ray, 1997).

As might be imagined, given the 3×4×2×2×2×2 design, the results of this experiment were quite complex. Analysis of baseline differences, before hypnotic induction, revealed higher theta power in hypnotizable compared to insusceptible subjects, especially in frontal and temporal areas.

Hypnotizable subjects showed greater resting alpha activity only in the temporal area. The induction of hypnosis decreased theta activity in hypnotizable subjects, while increasing it among insusceptibles, particularly in parietal and occipital areas. Alpha activity generally increased across all sites in all subjects, consistent with enhanced relaxation and reduction of visual activity. Graffin et al. interpreted the changes in theta as indicative of heightened concentration among hypnotizable subjects, but the fact that theta activity decreased in hypnotizable subjects and increased in insusceptible subjects suggests that, following the induction of hypnosis, both groups of subjects were actually in very similar cortical states.

3.2. The Right Hemisphere

In the late 1960s and 1970s, the recent discovery of hemispheric specialization led to the proposal that hypnosis is mediated by the right hemisphere (Bakan, 1969; Graham, 1977; Gur and Gur, 1974). Admittedly, this laterality hypothesis of hypnosis was based on a somewhat Romantic notion that the cerebral hemispheres (not to mention the people who possessed them!) could be divided into the creative, intuitive, holistic right and the logical, sequential, analytical left -- a simplistic view which was later downplayed even by one its most ardent earlier proponents (Ornstein, 1997). Nevertheless, it provided a powerful stimulus for the study of the neural substrates of hypnosis.

By far the most popular approach to the laterality hypothesis employed self-report or behavioral measures that were presumed to correlate with lateralized cerebral function. For example, Bakan (1969) himself reported that hypnotizable subjects showed more reflective eye movements to the left than insusceptible subjects, presumably indicating greater right hemisphere activation. On the other hand, these observations also proved difficult to confirm and extend (for a review, see Kihlstrom et al., 2012).

Arguably the best approach to this question is direct, through studies employing psychophysiological, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging methods. Somewhat surprisingly, until recently no investigation compared the hypnotizability of neurological patients with lateralized brain damage. The first, and so far the only study of this kind found no differences in hypnotizability between groups of stroke patients with damage confined to the left or right hemispheres (Kihlstrom et al., 2012).

Psychophysiological studies have produced conflicting results. Two early studies employing EEG alpha blocking as an index of hemispheric activity, found no evidence that hypnotizable subjects favored the right hemisphere, or that the induction of hypnosis induced a shift in preference from left to right (Morgan et al., 1971, 1974). However, some later investigators reported that subjects' EEG patterns showed a shift from left- to right-hemisphere activation when hypnotized (Edmonston and Moskovitz, 1990; MacLeod-Morgan and Lack, 1982), while Gruzelier and his colleagues found lateral asymmetries in electrodermal responding (EDR) suggesting an inhibition of left-hemisphere activity (Gruzelier et al., 1984).

Crawford and her colleagues, measuring regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) with the 133-xenon inhalation method, found that hypnotizable (but not insusceptible) subjects showed a dramatic increase in blood flow in the right hemisphere following hypnotic induction, before subjects received a suggestion for analgesia (Crawford et al., 1983). However, the extensive study by Graffin et al. found no EEG evidence of lateralization differences related to hypnotizability, or shifts in lateralization related to the induction of hypnosis (Graffin et al., 1995; Ray, 1997).

Perhaps the most provocative EEG finding was by MacLeod-Morgan and Lack (1982), who found that hypnotizable subjects showed greater task-specific hemispheric activation than did their insusceptible counterparts. That is, hypnotizable subjects appeared more likely to activate the left hemisphere when performing a task designed to selectively activate the left hemisphere, and the right hemisphere when performing a right-hemisphere task. Although subsequent attempts to replicate have yielded somewhat mixed results, Macleod-Morgan and Lack's findings led to the revised hypothesis that hypnotizable subjects possessed a flexible cognitive style which permitted them to shift easily between analytic (left hemisphere) and holistic (right hemisphere) modes of processing, as demanded by the task at hand: this flexibility is further enhanced by the induction of hypnosis (Crawford, 1989; Crawford and Gruzelier, 1992).

In the final version of the flexibility hypothesis, Crawford (2001) and Gruzelier (1998) largely abandoned explicit reference to analytic and holistic tasks, and left and right hemispheres. Instead, they proposed that hypnosis selectively activates a variety of cortical and subcortical processes, depending on the task required of the subject. Thus, hypnotizable subjects are adept at tasks involving either analytic or holistic processing, and at tasks involving either sustained attention or disattention, especially when they are hypnotized.

Put another way, the hypnotizable brain, even when hypnotized, is just like any other brain -- only better.

In retrospect, the right-hemisphere hypothesis of hypnosis and hypnotizability was bound to fail. Hypnosis does have certain qualities stereotypically attributed to the right hemisphere, such as a nonanalytic mode of cognition which permits subjects to achieve the peaceful coexistence between illusion and reality required for a subject to answer questions emanating from a loudspeaker which is not there (Orne, 1959).

On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence for left-hemisphere involvement in hypnosis (Jasiukaitis et al., 1996; Maquet et al., 1999) -- as well there should be. After all, hypnosis is induced by means of verbal suggestion, and therefore requires the language-processing capacities normally associated with the left hemisphere.

Moreover, the hypnotist's suggestions must be interpreted before the subject can respond to them. This interpretive activity, and the generation of the corresponding response, will involve the integrated activity of every portion of the brain -- just as is the case for other complex mental processes.

3.3. The Frontal Lobes

Of course, hypnotic suggestions experiences do have special phenomenal qualities, which may in turn entail special activity in certain brain areas. Of particular interest in this regard is the classic suggestion effect, in which the imaginative events suggested by the hypnotist seem to happen by themselves, instead of being actively generated by the subject. The experience of involuntariness, while ubiquitous in hypnosis, is subject to different interpretations (Hilgard, 1977; Kihlstrom, 1992a, 2007).

From a social-psychological point of view, it may reflect the influence of the hypnotic context on the causal attributions that subjects make about their own behavior. From a cognitive point of view, it may reflect a division of consciousness which effectively prevents hypnotized subjects from being aware of their own role as active agents generating their responses to the hypnotist's suggestions.

Neither of these proposals has any particular neuropsychological implications. However, Woody and his colleagues have suggested that experienced involuntariness reflects the freeing of subordinate cognitive modules from executive control associated with prefrontal cortex (Farvolden and Woody, 2004; Woody and Bowers, 1994; Woody and McConkey, 2003; Woody and Szechtman, 2003).

This hypothesis, in turn, suggests that hypnosis involves an inhibition of frontal-lobe functioning, particularly affecting the prefrontal cortex. Gruzelier reported some evidence supporting this hypothesis from a study of event-related potentials (ERPs) using the "oddball" paradigm (Gruzelier, 1998), and a more recent study from this group found that hypnosis reduced conflict-related activity in the anterior cingulate cortex during performance of a Stroop task (Egner et al., 2005). This pattern of results is consistent with increasing inhibition of frontal activity as hypnotizable subjects actually become hypnotized.

Early on, in fact, Crawford and Gruzelier had suggested that, compared to changes in laterality, "what may be more central to hypnosis is the inhibition of anterior frontal lobe function" (Crawford and Gruzelier, 1992, p. 265; see also Crawford, 2001; Egner et al., 2005; Gruzelier, 1998, 2000; Vaitl et al., 2005). However, it should be noted that these three sets of investigators make rather different hypotheses about the involvement of the frontal lobes in hypnosis. Woody and his colleagues go so far as to suggest that, in many ways, hypnotized subjects are similar to patients with lesions in the prefrontal cortex, while Gruzelier has cited support for associations between hypnosis and the activation of anterior fronto-limbic inhibitory processes -- particularly in the left hemisphere.

Crawford, in line with her emphasis on cognitive flexibility, suggested that highly hypnotizable subjects have more effective and flexible frontal systems for both attention and inhibition. Accordingly, we have three good reasons for thinking that investigations of the role of the frontal lobes in hypnosis will be more productive than studies of the right hemisphere.

A further argument for the frontal lobes is supplied by recent studies of the "default mode network" (DMN) in the brain, involving cortical midline structures such as the medial prefrontal cortex, superior frontal cortex, and the anterior and posterior cingulate cortex (McGeown et al.., 2009; Deeley et al., 2012). The DFN is so named because it is active when subjects are not engaged in a particular task-oriented activity. The DMN is deactivated when subjects engage in daydreaming and other task-unrelated mental activity, and these studies find that it is also deactivated during neutral hypnosis -- a term referring to a subject's state following completion of a hypnotic induction procedure, before receiving any further suggestions (Cardena, 2005; Edmonston, 1981).

In some respects, this is not surprising, because even "neutral" hypnosis is not all that neutral: after all, the subjects are still engaged in the activity of being hypnotized. Still, there now appear to be several different DMNs in the brain, and it remains to be seen whether the precise pattern of DMN deactivation in hypnosis differs from that observed in daydreaming and other such states.

6. Prospects

More than 150 years after Braid coined the term hypnosis and articulated the first neurophysiological theory of the phenomenon, the study of the neural correlates of hypnosis, and the instrumental use of hypnosis to study the neural correlates of other aspects of mind and behavior, are both still in their infancy. But then again, the same could be said about many other complex psychological phenomena, including perception and memory. Still, three important trends are already visible.

First, investigators are beginning to adopt modern sophisticated brain-imaging techniques, especially fMRI, which can provide more fine-grained analyses of both the location and timecourse of brain activity involved in hypnotic experience.

Second, and more important, theory in this area has evolved from a rather simplistic and Romantic focus on alpha activity, or the right hemisphere, to positions that recognize the complexity of the experience of hypnosis. Hypnosis research and theory has tracked developments in cognitive neuroscience more broadly, and is now poised to embrace the most sophisticated techniques to map the complex neural underpinnings of the multifaceted experience of hypnosis.

Third, hypnosis is increasingly being employed by researchers whose primary interests lie outside the domain of hypnosis. For more than a century, psychologists have viewed hypnosis as intrinsically interesting, a challenge for psychological theory to explain; now hypnosis is also viewed as interesting for what it can tell us about other things -- like consciousness.

Future developments in this area, however, will require more than machine time, computational power, and a tame hypnotist. They will require increasingly sophisticated experimental designs, geared to answer the kinds of questions that are particularly addressable by hypnosis -- questions that pertain to the monitoring and controlling functions of consciousness.

Two features that are prominent in hypnosis are divisions of awareness and the experience of involuntariness. In hypnotic analgesia or posthypnotic amnesia, the subject is unaware of current or past events that would normally be accessible to conscious awareness; in the sensory anesthesias, the subject is unaware of stimuli in some sensory modality; negative hallucinations, the subject is unaware of a specific stimulus present in his or her sensory field. In the ideomotor responses and positive hallucinations, subjects experience the suggested state of affairs, but do not perceive themselves as actively generating the corresponding mental imagery.

More than a decade ago, Frith, Perry and Lumer argued that studies of the neural correlates of conscious experience should contrast conditions where the same physical stimulus elicits the same behavioral response, without and without accompanying conscious awareness (Frith et al., 1999). A similar strategy might well be revealing with respect to hypnotic alterations in the monitoring and controlling functions of consciousness. For example, it is known that posthypnotic amnesia impairs explicit memory, but spares priming and other expressions of implicit memory (Kihlstrom, 2007).

Accordingly, a brain-imaging strategy which compares both explicit and implicit memory for studied items during amnesia and after the amnesia suggestion has been canceled might well reveal neural activity specifically associated with both conscious remembering and unconscious expressions of memory. The neuroimaging tools are now available, and a century of behavioral research on hypnosis has laid the empirical and conceptual foundations for their proper use. All that remains is to begin the work in earnest.

the full article can be found at the source link ...
« Last Edit: June 30, 2019, 09:16:36 AM by Chip »
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