Hypnotic and posthypnotic suggestion: Finding meaning in the message of the hypnotist

Amanda J. Barnier, Kevin M. McConkey*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


High hypnotizable subjects were asked a question before, during, and after hypnosis and were given a suggestion before, during, or after hypnosis to rub their earlobe when they were asked this question. In this way, the experiment placed a question that required a verbal response in contrast with a suggestion that only sometimes required a behavioral response. Subjects were more likely to respond behaviorally when the question was associated with the suggestion but more likely to respond verbally when the question was a social interaction; furthermore, the likelihood of subjects responding behaviorally and/or verbally shifted across the tests with the changing message of the hypnotist. The findings highlight hypnotized subjects' attempts to interpret the hypnotist's communications and their ability to resolve ambiguity in the nexus of those messages in a way that promotes their hypnotic behavior and experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-208
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes


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