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Simulation, surreptitious observation and the modification of hypnotizability: Two tests of the compliance hypothesis

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Abstract

In Experiment 1, two groups of subjects low in hypnotizability were administered the full Carleton Skills Training Package (CSTP) to enhance hypnotizability and two groups were given a partial version of the CSTP, which eliminates information aimed at teaching an active interpretation of suggestions. Half the subjects given the full CSTP and half given the partial CSTP were instructed to fake their way through the training and later hypnotizability post-tests. Simulators in both the full and partial group exhibited equivalently high post-test scores, but non-simulators given the full CSTP attained higher post-test scores than non-simulators given the partial CSTP. These findings suggest that the partial and full CSTP contain equivalent compliance demands and that differences between these procedures in enhancing hypnotizability stems from the interpretational skills taught by the full CSTP. In Experiment 2, hypnotic post-test responding was surreptitiously observed when subjects believed that they were alone. Simulators instructed to fake their way through the CSTP and the post-test stopped responding when they believed they were alone. CSTP non-simulators and subjects who attained high hypnotizability without training exhibited high levels of post-test responding while alone. Together the findings of the two experiments indicate that compliance cannot account adequately for the hypnotizability enhancements induced by skill training. Copyright © 1996 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis

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... However, when " instructional " information was provided to an independent group of individuals, more than half of the trained participants tested as high hypnotizables. In a later study (Spanos et al., 1996), participants administered the full CSTP exhibited large increases on objective and subjective dimensions of hypnotizability. In contrast, participants who received the partial treatment exhibited small but significant increases in hypnotizability but did not differ in their responsivity from no treatment controls. ...
... Previous component analyses are difficult to interpret. Both Spanos and his colleagues' (Spanos et al., 1986Spanos et al., , 1996) and Bates and Brigham's (1990) partial treatments eliminated information regarding imaginal strategies along with instructions to enact physical responses. Indeed, Spanos's partial treatment excised a great deal of information related to the use of imagery and imaginal strategies in the process of eliminating much of the model's dialogue with the experimenter in the videotape participants viewed. ...
... Study 2 will ensure that adequate rapport is established with the trainers and that the manipulation of demand characteristics is effective. Spanos has claimed that CSTP-related gains cannot be accounted for entirely in terms of compliance because trained participants and low-hypnotizable participants instructed to simulate or role-play undergoing the CSTP procedures generally do not respond comparably (Spanos et al., 1995; Spanos et al., 1996; Spanos & Flynn, 1989; Spanos et al., 1986). Study 2 includes the following groups: a.) practice-alone controls who do not receive the training; b.) low-hypnotizable individuals who receive the training; c.) untrained highly hypnotizable subjects; d.) low-hypnotizable participants who simulate the performance of subjects who undergo the training procedures; and e.) simulators who are only told about the CSTP. ...
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Delboeuf is chiefly remembered today for his lively and perceptive accounts of his visits in the 1880s to the hypnotic schools of the Salpêtrière and of Nancy. But he was himself an active and thoughtful practitioner and theorist in the field of hypnosis. His early position was close to that of the Nancy School, and during this period he carried out interesting experiments on post-hypnotic amnesia, on the so-called veille somnambulique, and on the healing effect of hypnotic analgesia on burns. Later, in part because of his increasing involvement in suggestive therapy, he moved away from the Nancy views, coming to hold, for instance, that ‘hypnotic’ phenomena do not depend on the induction of a supposed sleep-like hypnotic state. His changed views influenced the later Bernheim and his school, and to an extent foreshadowed certain modern writers, for instance Sarbin, Coe, Wagstaff and Spanos. Copyright © 1997 British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis
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Twelve initially low susceptible Ss who scored in the medium or high susceptibility range on the Carleton University Responsiveness to Suggestion Scale following skill training were posttested 9–30 mo later with a group version of the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale—Form C (SHSS). Skill trained Ss scored significantly higher on behavioral and subjective dimensions of the SHSS than low susceptible untrained control Ss. Skill trained and matched Ss without training failed to differ significantly on SHSS susceptibility dimensions, but skill trained Ss showed higher levels of suggested amnesia. Findings suggest that hypnotic susceptibility is modifiable and that training induced gains in susceptibility can be enduring. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This paper discusses a number of methodological problems raised by experimental attempts to modify hypnotic responsivity. In particular the criteria of modifiability, the issue of plateau susceptibility, and the special problem of demand characteristics as it exists for modification studies are discussed. Evidence that initial hypnotic susceptibility level may limit the degree to which hypnotizability may be modified (including the fiequent finding of high correlations between pre- and postmodification hypnotizability scores) is noted as a major paradox stemming from modification studies that requires greater attention. Until these methodological issues are treated more thoroughly than hitherto, claims for modifiability need to be treated with caution. Since hypnotic responsivity involves both aptitudinal and attitudinal components, future research in this field needs to develop strategies for determining the degree to which eachis altered by modification training procedures.
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30 low hypnotizable Ss were administered the Carleton Skills Training (CST) program, while 8 were assigned to a practice group. Prior to treatment, an attempt was made to facilitate training by altering the ecological conditions of the laboratory. All Ss were tested immediately after treatment, and trained Ss were retested after 5-7 months. Immediate training gains were large and were comparable in magnitude to those routinely found at Carleton University. In addition, (a) trained Ss responded comparably whether screened once or twice, (b) practice alone did not enhance hypnotic performance, and (c) natural high hypnotizable Ss obtained significantly larger Field Inventory of Hypnotic Depth (Field, 1965) scores than created high hypnotizables. Follow-up scores fell between scores posted at screening and immediately after training. Current findings are interpreted in the context of existing evidence concerning the CST program.
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Administered a hypnotic induction and 5 standard hypnotic suggestions twice via audiotape to a group of high-hypnotizable subjects and a group of low-hypnotizable simulators. During the first administration, subjects were led to believe that they were alone. However, their behavior was surreptitiously recorded on videotape and observed on a video monitor. The second administration occurred in the presence of an experimenter who had not been informed of group assignment. When unaware that they were being observed, simulators were significantly less responsive to suggestions than they were when openly observed. In contrast, the behavior of nonsimulating subjects was not affected by the presence of an experimenter. These data indicate that the responses of highly hypnotizable subjects to standard hypnotic suggestions cannot be accounted for in terms of simple compliance with experimental demand.
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Subjects low and medium in hypnotic susceptibility were administered cognitive strategy and instructional set information and also practiced responding to test suggestions in order to enhance susceptibility. Those in one modification treatment received this information both from the experimenter and by observing a videotaped female model who responded successfully to suggestions and reported on the cognitive strategies she used to do so. Those in a second modification treatment received the information and practice but were not exposed to the model. Low and medium susceptibles in a third condition (practice alone) received a hypnotic induction procedure and practice suggestions but neither modification information nor modeling. No-treatment controls performed a filler task. All subjects were posttested on two different susceptibility scales. Information plus modeling produced significantly greater increments on all objective and subjective indices of susceptibility on both posttests than did practice-alone or control treatments. Susceptibility increments in the information without model treatment always fell between those of the model and practice-alone treatments. In the modeling treatment, over half of the initial low susceptibles and over two thirds of the initial medium susceptibles scored as high susceptibles on both posttests. These findings provide strong support for a social-cognitive skill formulation of hypnotic susceptibility.
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-109 subjects were group tested in counterbalanced order on the Carleton Universiy Responsiveness to Suggestion Scale (CURSS) and Form C of the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibiliry Scale (SHSS:C). Both scales yielded thee susceptibility scores for each subject. 0 (objective) scores reflected overt responding to suggestions, S (subjective) scores reflected subjective responding, and 01 (objective-involuntariness) scores reflected the extent to which overt responses were experienced as occurring involuntarily. 0 scores were significantly higher than 01 scores on both scales, and on the SHSS:C 01 scores were much more strongly skewed toward the low end of rhe scale than were 0 scores. Corresponding dimensions on the cwo scales correlated highly with one another. Contrary to thz assumption of some invesrigators, our findings indicate that substantial discrepancies between overt and subjective aspects of responding occur on both scales. On neither scale did overt response to suggestion accurately reflect subjects' experience of responding involuntarily.
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Four treatments to enhance the hypnotic responsiveness of subjects who pretested as low in hypnotic susceptibility were compared. Complete skill training included information aimed at encouraging (a) positive attitudes, (b) the use of imagery strategies, and (c) an interpretation of hypnotic behavior as active responding. Partial training included only components (a) and (b). Both training packages enhanced attitudes toward hypnosis to an equivalent degree. However, complete training was much more effective than either partial training or no treatment at enhancing behavioral and subjective responding on two different posttest scales of hypnotic susceptibility. More than half of the subjects who received complete training, but none of the partial training or control subjects, scored in the high-susceptibility range on both posttests. Subjects explicitly instructed to fake hypnosis and those in the complete skill-training treatment exhibited significantly different patterns of posttest responding. Findings support social psychological perspectives that emphasize the importance of contextual factors in hypnotic responding.
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Examined the extent to which hypnotic susceptibility could be modified by means of various types of information modeled on a videotape. Of particular interest was the extent to which hypnotizability could be altered for the initially less susceptible S. 2 major informational components were compared: (a) behavioral modeling cues, in which Ss observed a model acquiesce to 7 hypnotic suggestions; and (b) verbal modeling cues, in which information was presented designed to correct misconceptions concerning hypnosis as well as provide concrete methods for experiencing hypnosis. 70 undergraduates completed the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale (SHSS) Form B. After the manipulation period, Ss completed the SHSS Form C. Several days later, Ss completed M. Diamond's CP Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. Verbal modeling cues (in combination with motivational encouragement) were significantly more effective than the other cues, even for the initially less susceptible Ss. Results are discussed in relation to social learning and cognitive approaches to behavior change. (23 ref.)
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Administered the Carleton University Responsiveness to Suggestion Scale (CURSS) to 400 18–53 yr old undergraduates. The Carleton scale yields 3 suggestibility scores for each S: objective (CURSS-O) scores reflect overt response to suggestion, subjective scores reflect experiential response to suggestion, and objective-involuntariness (CURRS-OI) scores reflect the extent to which objectively "passed" responses were experienced as occurring involuntarily. Guttman scale analyses and factor analyses indicated that each dimension was primarily unidimensional and cumulative. CURSS-O scores had a bell-shaped distribution while CURSS-OI scores were much more strongly skewed toward the low suggestibility end of the distribution. Ss who "passed" suggestions by objective criteria frequently rated their responses as primarily voluntary rather than involuntary. Findings suggest that the Carleton scale adequately assesses the response domain traditionally associated with the notion of hypnotic susceptibility. (25 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Compliance and the Carleton Skills Training Program
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A brief multi-item, group assessment of hypnotizability: Preliminary findings
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Hypnosis: The Cognitive-behavioral Perspective
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Modifying hypnotic susceptibility with the Carleton Skills Training Program: A replication
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More on compliance and the Carleton Skills Training Program
  • N.P. Spanos
Simulation, compliance and skill training in the enhancement of hypnotizability
  • N.P. Spanos
  • D.M. Flynn
Increasing hypnotizability: A comparison of a multi-media form of the Carleton Skills Training Program with a self-administered written form
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The effects of simulation and expectancy instructions on response to cognitive skill training for enhancing hypnotizability
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  • K. Bowman
  • A.H. Perlini
Hypnosis, Compliance and Belief
  • G.F. Wagstaff
Four month follow-up of skill training induced enhancement of hypnotic susceptibility
  • N.P. Spanos
  • S.C. DuBreuil
  • N.J. Gabora
  • Kirsch
  • Gfeller
  • Gorassini