• Created by: Anna
  • Created on: 12-06-15 08:51


  • Hypnotic induction is the process by which one person leades another into a supposely different state of conciousness.
  • It's not nesscessary to swing a watch in found of a person and use the pharse ''You are feeling sleepy''
  • Moss 1965, reported being able to sometimes induce a trance by simple saying ''Please sit in that chair and go into hypnosis''.
  • The goal of hypnosis is to make some relaxed and increase their attention.
  • The only essestional feautre of induction procedure is the subject most realise they are being hypnosised, and furthemore want to be hypnosised.
  • It's not possible for all people to be hypnosised, and you are unable to put someone under hypnosis if they do not want to be.
  • People differ in how susceptible they are to hypnotic suggestions. This can be measured by hypontic susceptiblity.
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Further AO1 Detail

Post-hypnotic suggestilibity: A subject is given instructions under hypnosis and follows them after returning to a non-hypnotic state.

Post-hypnotic amnesia: The subject is instructed to not remember any of the the suggested behaviour after levaing the hypnotc state.

There are two main competiting explainations for how hypnosis works:

The State Theory- Neo-dissocation (Hilgard) and the Non-state theory- Set response (social expectany- Krisch and Lynn).

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State Theories

Hilgard's Neo-dissociation theory

  • During hypnosis the hypnotist gains controls of the executive ego therefore gaining access to one stream of consciousness.
  • There are three streams of consciousness off the executive ego.
  • Hypnosis creates a division of awareness, two streams of consciouness are divided from one.
  • One stream responds to hypnosis while the other two remaind dormant but still consciouss- Hidden Obsever
  • Hilgard argued that dissociation between streams of consciousness accounts for why hyponsis appears to produce involuntary actions.
  • The subject-under hypnosis, intentionally carries out the actions but only the hidden observer is aware of this.
  • The primary consciousness stream is cut off from this awareness and therefore action appears involuntary to the subject.
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Hidden Observer

The Hidden Observer

  • When a person is under hypnosis Hilgard belived that the hypnotists can only gain access to one stream of conciousness at a time. (1 out of 3 available)
  • While under hypnosis the two other available steams are still aware what is going on and if asked to can still communicate.
  • This is shown by the Cold Pressor Test-This involves an indiviual holding their arm under ice-cold water
  • If a person is in a normal state (not under hypnosis) they are able to submerge their arm in ice cold water for a matter of seconds, before it become to painful
  • If a person is under hypnosis, when asked to by a hypnotist the are able to hold their arm under the water for a lot longer, sometimes minutes, despite showing signs of physical pain (blueing of skin)
  • While doing this subjects are often ask, ''If any part of you can feel pain please raise you hand'', in response to this many participants feel their other arm raise up but have no idea why- this is the hidden observer
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Supporting Evidence

Supporting the State Theory:

PET scans do show a different in brain activity between a normal waking state and the hypnotic state (Rainville et at, 2001)

  • This supports the state theory as it should that, hypnosis to be a different state of consciousness, and brain activity changes to illustrate this hypnotic state, and the effect on the brain.

2.) Lie dectector tests, show lying in people faking a hypnotic state but not in those who were really under a hypnotic state.

  • This also supports the state theory, it shows those who pretend to be hypnotised to be lying whereas those who were really under hypnosis to be telling the truth. It suggests that hypnosis is a different part of the brain.
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Contradicting Evidence

Contradicting Evidence:

Orne (1970) paid participants, and trained them to fake a hypnotic state.

He then asked a professional hypontist to see if they could work out which particpants were faking and which were really hypnosied.

The experienced hypnotist was unable to work out which participants were under hypnosis and which were faking

  • This contradicts the state theory, if a real hypnotist was unable to tell none of the particpants where under hypnosis then people can just pretend to be under hypnosis and fool professionals
  • This shows there is no different between people who fake hypnosis and those who claim to under hypnosis.
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Non-State Theories

Non-State theories are described as a response set theory.

People who are under hypnosis generally report their behaviour as automatic or effortless. They didn't have to make a voluntary effort to follow the instructions of the hypnotist.

The set repsonse theory argues that the experience of effortlessness is the result of attribuional error, not an altered state.

It is a normal aspect of cognitive functioning and doesn't need to suggest that hypnosis is an altered state.

Krisch and Lynn (1997) proposed that subjects in a hypnotic situations have a generalised repsonse expectancy that they will follow the instructions given by the hypnotist and produce behaviour that is experienced as involuntary.

A consquence of this is, subjects attribute hypnotic response to external causes, experiencing them as involuntary. Accoring to this theory, hypnotic repsonse are initiated by the same mechanism as voluntary repsonses, the difference is in how the behaviour is experienced.

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Supporting Evidence

Supporting evidence of this theory would be the Orne's study (1970).

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