Hypnotic suggestibility, cognitive inhibition, and dissociation

Conscious Cogn. 2009 Dec;18(4):837-47. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2009.07.009. Epub 2009 Aug 25.


We examined two potential correlates of hypnotic suggestibility: dissociation and cognitive inhibition. Dissociation is the foundation of two of the major theories of hypnosis and other theories commonly postulate that hypnotic responding is a result of attentional abilities (including inhibition). Participants were administered the Waterloo-Stanford Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form C. Under the guise of an unrelated study, 180 of these participants also completed: a version of the Dissociative Experiences Scale that is normally distributed in non-clinical populations; a latent inhibition task, a spatial negative priming task, and a memory task designed to measure negative priming. The data ruled out even moderate correlations between hypnotic suggestibility and all the measures of dissociation and cognitive inhibition overall, though they also indicated gender differences. The results are a challenge for existing theories of hypnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Association Learning
  • Attention*
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis*
  • Inhibition, Psychological*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Orientation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychological Theory
  • Psychometrics
  • Reaction Time
  • Sex Factors
  • Suggestion*
  • Verbal Learning
  • Young Adult