Measuring change in the subjective experience of hypnosis

Kevin M. McConkey, Vanessa Wende, Amanda J. Barnier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The authors indexed the subjective experience of hypnosis through the use of a continuous behavioral measure of the strength of the participant's experience at the time of the suggestion. Specifically, subjects turned a dial to indicate changes in their experience of the suggested effect during that experience. Thirty-three high, 47 medium, and 28 low hypnotizable subjects were asked to use the dial during the suggestion, test, and cancellation phases of three hypnotic items: arm levitation, arm rigidity, and anosmia. The pattern of ratings differed according to the nature of the suggestion. Also, across the items, subjects who passed according to behavioral criteria experienced the suggested effect to a greater degree than those who failed. Notably, whereas the ratings of highs and mediums did not differ for any item, they differed from lows on all three items. The authors discuss the implications of these findings in terms of the potential for this method to provide insight into the experience of hypnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1999
Externally publishedYes


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