Measuring and understanding individual differences in hypnotizability

Jean-Roch Laurence, Dominique Beaulieu-Prévost and Thibault Du Chéné

in The Oxford Handbook of Hypnosis

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780198570097
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Measuring and understanding individual differences in hypnotizability

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  • Psychology
  • Research Methods in Psychology



Contemporary theoretical debates about the nature of hypnosis are rooted in the behaviors and experiences of a few subjects who seem to respond in an intriguing, sometimes surprising way to a hypnotic induction. As this article explains, understanding the highly hypnotizable subject's behaviors and experiences goes beyond the hypnotic domain. Phenomena demonstrated over the centuries by these subjects, whether or not they were hypnotized, have influenced theoretical approaches and have fueled many clinical controversies. While mentioning the difference in the levels of hypnotizability in subjects, this article also cites the interpretations placed on the unusual abilities of highly hypnotizable subjects. However, it states that hypnotizability in its traditional meaning is not really defined or not even as an imaginative suggestibility for that matter. It states that the main characteristics of hypnotizability are still to be identified, no matter if its ability is looked at in or out of the hypnotic context.

Keywords: neurophysiological process; theoretical debate; hypnotic induction; highly hypnotizable subject; clinical controversy

Article.  20087 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Research Methods in Psychology

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