Mirrored-self misidentification in the hypnosis laboratory: Recreating the delusion from its component factors

Michael H. Connors*, Amanda J. Barnier, Max Coltheart, Rochelle E. Cox, Robyn Langdon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction. Mirrored-self misidentification is the delusional belief that one's reflection in the mirror is a stranger. According to Langdon and Coltheart's (2000) two-factor theory of monothematic delusions, the delusion can arise from deficits in face processing (Factor 1) and belief evaluation (Factor 2). This study gave participants separate hypnotic suggestions for these two factors to create a hypnotic analogue of the delusion. Method. Forty-six high hypnotisable participants received a hypnotic suggestion for either Factor 1 alone or for Factors 1 and 2, either with hypnosis (hypnosis condition) or without (wake condition). Participants were asked to look into a mirror and to describe what they saw. Participants who reported seeing a stranger in the mirror also received a series of challenges. Results. Overall, 70% of participants in the hypnosis condition passed the delusion; only 22% of participants in the wake condition passed. Importantly, in hypnosis, the Factor 1 alone suggestion was just as effective in creating the delusion as the combined Factor 1 and Factor 2 suggestion. Conclusion. These results suggest that hypnotic suggestion can recreate the mirrored-self misidentification delusion from its component factors. Notably, the hypnotic context, itself known to disrupt belief evaluation, can act as Factor 2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-176
Number of pages26
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012


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