Action and desire in posthypnotic responding

Amanda J. Barnier, Kevin M. McConkey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The authors examined the impact of suggestion focus and test type on the posthypnotic responding of high hypnotizable participants. The posthypnotic suggestion focused on either behavior (action) or experience (desire); posthypnotic responding was indexed in a formal test, an embedded test, and an informal test. In Experiment 1, the posthypnotic suggestion involved a motor act. Participants given the action suggestion were more likely to respond completely on the formal test than participants given the desire suggestion. Also, responding declined across the three tests; suggestion focus influenced responding on the informal but not the embedded test. In Experiment 2, the posthypnotic suggestion involved a verbal act. In contrast to Experiment 1, participants given the action or desire suggestion responded similarly on the formal test. As in Experiment 1, responding declined across the three tests; however, suggestion focus did not influence responding on the embedded or the informal tests. The findings highlight the meaningful effects of changes in what the hypnotist says, what participants are asked to do, and how their responses are assessed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-139
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


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