A2 - Psychology - Theories of hypnosis

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  • Created by: jkav
  • Created on: 02-12-15 14:56

State explanations - Description

State explanations - Description

The neodissociationist view

  • Hilgard suggests hypnotic experiences result from a dissociation caused by the hypnotist seperating our cognitive processes so that we are only aware of some aspects of our thinking.
  • Real hypnotised subjects can be distinguished from'fakers' as they respond for longer (Evans and Orne) and hhave a stronger 'post-hypnotic' response (Orne et al)
  • Hilgard demonstrated the 'hidden observer', which allows access to the dissociated level of consciousness, e.g. reports feeling pain when the hypnotised subject says they feel none.
  • Hypnotised subjects demonstrate remarkable physical feats, e.g. being 'as stiff as a board' when placed across two chairs.
  • Kosslyn et al found that the brain activity in hypnosis was different from normal wakefulness, i.e. a special state.
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State explanations - Evaluation

State explanations - Evaluation

The neodissociationist view

  • The difference between 'reals' and 'fakers' may be due to underlying differences (e.g. poorer imagination).
  • No more exceptional feats of strength, etc. are possible under hypnosis than without (Druckman and Bjork).
  • PET scanning supports dissociation by showing that hypnotic analgesia reduces brain activity relating to pain but not the sensory information (Rainville et al).
  • Brain scanning,e.g. Williams and Gruzelier, found more alpha waves during hypnosis and more theta waves in relaxed state. Egner et al reported consistent differences in anterior cingulated gyrus function.
  • Brain differences related to susceptibility,e.g.more asymmetricalbrainhemispheres (Naish).
  • State theorists argue that some people can dissociate behaviour and awareness more easily.
  • If hypnotisability is special then susceptibility should be a stable characteristic but Wickless and Kirsch found it depended on expectation. Students primed using trick lights and colours were more likely to be hypnotisable when tested later.
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Non-state explanations - Description

Non-state explanations - Description

Socio - cognitive theory of hypnosis

  • Wagstaff suggests compliance and belief are affceted in hypnosis.
  • A hypnotised person complies to suggestions from the hypnotist in the same way that we comply to obedience and conformity. Avoids the embarrassment of not being hypnotised or of appearing disobedient.
  • A hypnotied person believes their behaviour is not volitional and this belief leads them ti regard the state as 'real', same as, e.g. Valins, who found male participants provided rational explanations for non-volitional behaviour.
  • The ESC (Expectation, Strategy, Compliance) process (Wagstaff, 1986) suggests that hypnotic subjects decide what the hypnotist wants then use cognitive startegies to achieve this. If this fails, they comply.
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Non-state explanations - Evaluation

Non - state explanations - Evaluation

Socio-cognitive theory of hypnosis

  • Spanos et al found highly susceptible subjects appeared more compliant; if expectations were manipulated their responses differed.
  • If subjects are merely compliant some might admit to pretending but they don't (Kihlstrom et al).
  • Investment in the hypnotic role causes subjects to, e.g. ignore memories they were told to forget (Spanos).
  • Hypnosis cannot be mere compliance as highly susceptible subjects are not generally compliant; Orne asked participants to return postcards.
  • The non-state theory aims to explain whereas the 'state' approach is more descriptive.
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