Highly hypnotizable individuals commonly report a variety of anomalous experiences following a hypnotic induction and there is some evidence to indicate that hypnosis may be psi-conducive. This study adopted a neurophenomenological approach and analyzed brain process and consciousness in tandem during hypnosis with a stratified sample (N = 40) of high, medium, and low hypnotizable participants. In session 1, cortical activity was measured using qEEG during an eyes-closed sitting-quietly period and while voluntarily lifting an arm prior to and following a hypnotic induction. In session 2, participants’ spontaneous mentation was obtained in reference to a baseline period and to multiple prompts following a hypnotic induction, which consisted of the single suggestion for participants to go into their “deepest” state (‘neutral hypnosis’). In addition, participants completed the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI) in reference to baseline and hypnosis periods. Verbal (numerical) reports of hypnotic depth were obtained in reference to different periods in both sessions. Results showed main effects of hypnotizability level (low, medium, and high), condition (baseline and hypnosis) and an interaction between the two variables. Although the groups did not exhibit differential hypnotic depth reports at baseline, hypnotic depth was found to increase in medium and high hypnotizables during hypnosis. With regard to the PCI, hypnotizability was related to having an altered experience, alterations in state, body image, and various other dimensions. Participants’ deepest
hypnotic state, relative to baseline, was associated with altered experience, alterations in body image, time sense, perception, and various other dimensions. Interactions between hypnotizability and condition were found for altered experience, body image, perception, meaning, love, sadness, imagery, and state of awareness. Overall, reported alterations in consciousness were more common among medium and especially high hypnotizables than lows, especially after hypnosis induction. Spontaneous verbal reports were content analyzed by two judges who derived phenomenological categories. While the experience of low hypnotizables was characterized by “normal” mentation, that of medium hypnotizables was centered more on vestibular and other bodily sensations, and that of high hypnotizables was characterized by positive affect and mystical-like phenomena. Spectral and source localization EEG analyses corroborated various patterns of differential brain functioning across levels of hypnotizability and during different conditions. Among the most salient findings were a positive correlation between a global measure of brain functioning complexity (omega complexity) and hypnotizability and a positive correlation between omega complexity and two types of experiences: positive affect/mystical-like phenomena, and imagery. The induction of hypnosis had different effects on low and high hypnotizables: whereas frontal cortical activity increased from baseline to hypnosis in the former, it decreased in the latter. Thus, the results show clear correspondences between phenomenological reports and electrocortical activity, and show the usefulness of a neuophenomenological perspective.
|Cardeña, E., Lehmann, D., Jönsson, P., Terhune, D. B., & Faber, P. (2007). The neurophenomenology of hypnosis. Proceedings of the 50th Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association (pp. 17-30). The Parapsychological Association.|