Neuroscience gets serious about hypnosis

Post published on Thursday, August the 1st 2013 by The British Psychological Society blog Research Digest. Identified through the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis.

David Oakley and Peter Halligan  have written an authoritative new review, debunking hypnosis myths, and covering ways that neuroscience is shedding light on hypnosis and ways hypnosis is aiding neuroscience…Oakley and Halligan say new brain imaging findings do support the contention that hypnosis is a distinct form of consciousness…participants exposed to suggestive statements can experience altered perceptual or bodily sensations… Sceptics may wonder about the veracity of these experiences but brain imaging results are indicating they are real and not merely imagined. (Read complete post for examples of those studies)…Another line of research explores the correlates of hypnotic suggestibility. Apparently it is a highly stable trait and it is heritable. It doesn’t correlate with the main personality dimensions but does correlate with creativity, empathy, mental absorption, fantasy proneness and people’s expectation that they will be prone to hypnotic procedures…Many neurological symptoms are medically unexplained with no apparent organic cause and it is here that hypnosis is proving especially useful as a new way to model, explore and treat people’s symptoms…”

Read complete post by clicking here.

This post suggests that a high suggestibility may makes us more vulnerable to hypnotic suggestion. Being this the case, if we wanted to change something in our experience of life, a high suggestibility may be a positive and useful personality trait. Hypnotherapy will work towards targeting those advantages which suggestibility may provide, being high or low, providing our goeals are realistic, healthy and temporally achievable. Additionally, hypnotherapy can be employed towards the development and enrichment of our creativity, empathy, mental absorption, fantasy proneness and hypnotic expectations.


Oakley DA, and Halligan PW (2013). Hypnotic suggestion: opportunities for cognitive neuroscience. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 14 (8), 565-76 PMID: 23860312



About Anna Pons

Certificat (CPPD), Post Graduat Certificat (PGCert) i Post Graduat Diploma (PGD) en Hipnoteràpia Clínica, London College of Clinical Hypnosis (LCCH) i Universitat de West London (UWL)
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