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Alterations of agency in hypnosis: A new predictive coding model

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Abstract

Hypnotic suggestions can lead to altered experiences of agency, reality, and memory. The present work is primarily concerned with alterations of the sense of agency (SoA) following motor suggestions. When people respond to the suggestion that their arm is rising up all by itself, they usually have a feeling of passivity for their action. The mechanisms leading to such alterations of the SoA are still controversial. We propose a theoretical model based on the framework of predictive coding: The view that the brain constantly generates hypotheses that predict sensory input at varying levels of abstraction and minimizes prediction errors either by updating its prior hypotheses—perceptual inference—or by modifying sensory input through action—active inference. We argue that suggested motor behavior and the experience of passivity accompanying it can be accounted for in terms of active inference. We propose that motor suggestions optimize both proprioceptive predictions and actual proprioceptive evidence through attentional modulation. The comparison between predicted and actual sensory evidence leads to highly precise prediction errors that call for an explanation. The motor suggestion readily supplies such an explanation by providing a prior of nonagency to the subject. We present this model in detail and discuss how it relates to, and differs from, other recent models of hypnosis. We compare its predictions with the predictions derivable from these other models. We also discuss the potential application of our predictive account to reality and memory alterations in hypnosis and offer an explanation of interindividual differences in hypnotic suggestibility.

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... The relation between hypnotic suggestibility and hallucination-proneness aligns well with contemporary theories of hypnosis that have sought to understand response to suggestion within the context of predictive coding models (Jamieson, 2016;Martin & Pacherie, 2019). Similar to recent accounts of hallucinations Sterzer et al., 2018;Tulver, Aru, Rutiku, & Bachmann, 2019)-according to which perception is modelled as an active process integrating beliefs about the world (priors) and sensory evidence-these theories propose that response to suggestion is facilitated by a propensity to form highly precise priors that exert a top-down influence over motor control and perception, giving rise to compelling changes in behaviour and experience. ...
... Similar to recent accounts of hallucinations Sterzer et al., 2018;Tulver, Aru, Rutiku, & Bachmann, 2019)-according to which perception is modelled as an active process integrating beliefs about the world (priors) and sensory evidence-these theories propose that response to suggestion is facilitated by a propensity to form highly precise priors that exert a top-down influence over motor control and perception, giving rise to compelling changes in behaviour and experience. These models predict that individuals displaying high hypnotic suggestibility, who comprise around 10-15% of the general population (Woody & Barnier, 2008), should display increased hallucination-proneness due to a tendency to weight perceptual priors more strongly, resulting in a concomitant down-weighting of sensory evidence (Martin & Pacherie, 2019). ...
... HDHS participants displayed greater proneness to anomalous perceptual states and episodes of absorption than LDHS and LS participants, who did not significantly differ. These results are consistent with the proposal that high hypnotic suggestibility is characterised by a propensity for weighting perceptual priors over sensory evidence (Martin & Pacherie, 2019), but indicate that these effects are more pronounced among those who are also highly dissociative. Moreover, using Bayesian statistics, we found evidence in favour of the null hypothesis that LDHS do not differ from LS controls in the reporting of anomalous sleep experiences (the data were insensitive in distinguishing between the alternative and null hypotheses for group differences on the other scales). ...
Preprint
Introduction: Predictive coding models propose that that high hypnotic suggestibility confers a predisposition to hallucinate due to an elevated propensity to weight perceptual priors over sensory evidence. Multiple lines of research corroborate this prediction and demonstrate a link between hypnotic suggestibility and proneness to anomalous perceptual states. However, such effects might be moderated by dissociative tendencies, which seem to account for heterogeneity in high hypnotic suggestibility. We tested the prediction that the prevalence of anomalous experiences would be greater among highly suggestible individuals who are also highly dissociative.Methods: We compared high and low dissociative highly suggestible participants and low suggestible controls on multiple psychometric measures of anomalous experiences. Results: High dissociative highly suggestible participants reliably reported greater anomalous experiences than the other two groups, which did not significantly differ from each other. Conclusions: These results suggest a greater predisposition to experience anomalous perceptual states among high dissociative highly suggestible individuals.
... The relation between hypnotic suggestibility and hallucination-proneness aligns well with contemporary theories of hypnosis that have sought to understand response to suggestion within the context of predictive coding models (Jamieson, 2016;Martin & Pacherie, 2019). Similar to recent accounts of hallucinations Sterzer et al., 2018;Tulver, Aru, Rutiku, & Bachmann, 2019)-according to which perception is modelled as an active process integrating beliefs about the world (priors) and sensory evidence-these theories propose that response to suggestion is facilitated by a propensity to form highly precise priors that exert a top-down influence over motor control and perception, giving rise to compelling changes in behaviour and experience. ...
... Similar to recent accounts of hallucinations Sterzer et al., 2018;Tulver, Aru, Rutiku, & Bachmann, 2019)-according to which perception is modelled as an active process integrating beliefs about the world (priors) and sensory evidence-these theories propose that response to suggestion is facilitated by a propensity to form highly precise priors that exert a top-down influence over motor control and perception, giving rise to compelling changes in behaviour and experience. These models predict that individuals displaying high hypnotic suggestibility, who comprise around 10-15% of the general population (Woody & Barnier, 2008), should display increased hallucination-proneness due to a tendency to weight perceptual priors more strongly, resulting in a concomitant down-weighting of sensory evidence (Martin & Pacherie, 2019). ...
... HDHS participants displayed greater proneness to anomalous perceptual states and episodes of absorption than LDHS and LS participants, who did not significantly differ. These results are consistent with the proposal that high hypnotic suggestibility is characterised by a propensity for weighting perceptual priors over sensory evidence (Martin & Pacherie, 2019), but indicate that these effects are more pronounced among those who are also highly dissociative. Moreover, using Bayesian statistics, we found evidence in favour of the null hypothesis that LDHS do not differ from LS controls in the reporting of anomalous sleep experiences (the data were insensitive in distinguishing between the alternative and null hypotheses for group differences on the other scales). ...
Article
Introduction: Predictive coding models propose that high hypnotic suggestibility confers a predisposition to hallucinate due to an elevated propensity to weight perceptual beliefs (priors) over sensory evidence. Multiple lines of research corroborate this prediction and demonstrate a link between hypnotic suggestibility and proneness to anomalous perceptual states. However, such effects might be moderated by dissociative tendencies, which seem to account for heterogeneity in high hypnotic suggestibility. We tested the prediction that the prevalence of anomalous experiences would be greater among highly suggestible individuals who are also highly dissociative. Methods: We compared high and low dissociative highly suggestible participants and low suggestible controls on multiple psychometric measures of anomalous experiences. Results: High dissociative highly suggestible participants reliably reported greater anomalous experiences than low dissociative highly suggestible participants and low suggestible controls, who did not significantly differ from each other. Conclusions: These results suggest a greater predisposition to experience anomalous perceptual states among high dissociative highly suggestible individuals.
... Numerous reviews and theoretical treatises regarding hypnosis put alterations in the SoA to the forefront of their discussions (e.g., Hilgard, 1973;Kihlstrom, 2008;Martin & Pacherie, 2019;Terhune, Cleeremans, Raz, & Lynn, 2017). The reason for this emphasis is, it is very common that participants report a sense of semi-automaticity, effortlessness, and involuntariness, when they exert hypnotic-suggestion-induced responses (Blakemore, Oakley, & Frith, 2003;Kirsch & Lynn, 1997;Lynn, Rhue, & Weekes, 1990). ...
... The second application of predictive coding to hypnotic phenomena was put forward by Martin and Pacherie (2019) as an expansion of sensory attenuation in active inference (Brown et al., 2013). Focusing on motor suggestions, Martin and Pacherie (2019) proposed that, in contrast to active inference under normal conditions, during hypnotic-suggestion-induced actions somatosensory and proprioceptive signals are not downregulated. ...
... The second application of predictive coding to hypnotic phenomena was put forward by Martin and Pacherie (2019) as an expansion of sensory attenuation in active inference (Brown et al., 2013). Focusing on motor suggestions, Martin and Pacherie (2019) proposed that, in contrast to active inference under normal conditions, during hypnotic-suggestion-induced actions somatosensory and proprioceptive signals are not downregulated. Instead, they are incorporated into the system even beyond reflex arches and thalamic gates. ...
Preprint
Hypnotic and posthypnotic suggestions are frequently and successfully implemented in behavioral, neurocognitive, and clinical investigations and interventions. Despite abundant reports about the effectiveness of suggestions in altering behavior, perception, cognition, and subjective sense of agency (SoA), there is no consensus about the neurocognitive mechanisms driving these changes. The present review starts with procedural descriptions of hypnosis, suggestions, and suggestibility, followed by a systematic and comparative review of prominent theories of hypnosis, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, based on their power to explain existing observations in the domain of hypnosis. Thereafter, we propose a novel theory of hypnosis, accounting for empirical evidence and synthesizing concepts from hypnosis and neurocognitive theories. The proposed simulation-adaption theory of hypnosis (SATH) is founded on three elements: cognitive-simulation, top-down sensory-adaptation, and mental training. SATH mechanistically explains different hypnotic phenomena, such as alterations in the SoA, positive and negative hallucinations, motor suggestions, and effects of suggestions on executive functions and memory. Finally, based on SATH and its postulated neurocognitive mechanisms, a procedure-oriented definition of hypnosis is proposed.
... Numerous reviews and theoretical treatises regarding hypnosis put alterations in the SoA to the forefront of their discussions (e.g., Hilgard, 1973;Martin & Pacherie, 2019;. The reason for this emphasis is, it is very common that participants report a sense of semi-automaticity, effortlessness, and involuntariness, when they exert hypnotic-suggestion-induced responses Kirsch & Lynn, 1997;. ...
... The second application of predictive coding to hypnotic phenomena was put forward by Martin and Pacherie (2019) as an expansion of sensory attenuation in active inference (Brown et Manuscript 2 ______________________________________________________________________________ al., 2013). Focusing on motor suggestions, Martin and Pacherie (2019) proposed that, in contrast to active inference under normal conditions, during hypnotic-suggestion-induced actions somatosensory and proprioceptive signals are not downregulated. ...
... The second application of predictive coding to hypnotic phenomena was put forward by Martin and Pacherie (2019) as an expansion of sensory attenuation in active inference (Brown et Manuscript 2 ______________________________________________________________________________ al., 2013). Focusing on motor suggestions, Martin and Pacherie (2019) proposed that, in contrast to active inference under normal conditions, during hypnotic-suggestion-induced actions somatosensory and proprioceptive signals are not downregulated. Instead, they are incorporated into the system even beyond reflex arches and thalamic gates. ...
Thesis
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Exekutive Funktionen (EF) sind eine Gruppe von Top-Down-Prozessen, die in neuartigen Situationen eingesetzt werden, um neue Trigger-Response-Assoziationen herzustellen oder vorhandene Handlungsoptionen an neue Situationen anzupassen. Obwohl EF erschöpfend untersucht wurden, bleiben wichtige Fragen offen. Beispiele dafür sind (a) Sind Exekutivfunktionen vollständig trennbar oder beruhen sie auf einem gemeinsamen neurokognitiven System? (b) Was messen verschiedene Versionen der Stroop-Aufgabe, einer der meist-verwendeten Aufgaben zur Prüfung der Inhibitionsfunktion? (c) Muss Inhibition immer Ressourcen-fordernd sein, oder gibt es eine Form der Inhibition, die mühelos implementiert werden kann? Zur Beantwortung dieser Fragen, habe ich neurokognitive Korrelate von EF und ihrer Verbesserung mithilfe posthypnotischer Suggestionen (PHS) und Ereigniskorrelierter Hirnpotentiale (EKP) untersucht. Zusammenfassend ergaben sich folgende Antworten: (a) Psychometrische und EKP-Daten aus den Studien zur Gedächtnisaktualisierung und Inhibition sowie deren Verbesserung anhand PHS zeigten sowohl funktionsspezifische als auch gemeinsame neurokognitive Prozesse der Inhibition und Aktualisierung. (b) Obwohl sowohl die vokale als auch die manuelle Version der Stroop-Aufgabe Inhibitionsfunktionen erfordern, ist die vokale Version Ressourcen-fordernder, da sie mindestens einen zusätzlichen Lokus der Interferenz im Antwort-Produktionsprozess aufweist, der nicht mit PHS beeinflussbar ist und der in der manuellen Version fehlt. (c) Unter Verwendung PHS zur Erhöhung der Präferenzen für kalorienarme Lebensmittel untersuchte ich die Auflösung von Konflikten. Die EKP-Ergebnisse zeigten, dass auch Konflikt-Auflösung, ähnlich wie Inhibition, Ressourcen konsumiert. Insgesamt zeigt dieses Projekt, dass die Verwendung Aufgaben-bezogener PHS in Kombination mit Neuroimaging-Techniken einen fruchtbaren Ansatz für die Untersuchung ungeklärter Fragen über Exekutivfunktionen darstellt.
... These involve sensory and frontal-parietal attentional systems that also support predictive processing (Tang et al., 2015;Jamieson, 2016). The human brain is hypothesized to use both perceptual and active inference to maximize the effectiveness of predictive processing: for perceptual inference internal models are adjusted to best fit perception using predictions that best explain the experienced sensory information, whereas active inference consists of performing actions that produce sensory input conforming to predictions (Martin and Pacherie, 2019). Perception in itself can be divided into exteroception (perception of the external world), proprioception (perception of one's own motion and one's body in space), and interoception (perception of one's own homeostatically regulated physiological states) (Jamieson, 2016), all of which are used to generate predictive models of the world, our bodies and our mental states. ...
... Individuals who are susceptible to hypnosis are reported to experience changes in subjective awareness (Kihlstrom, 2005;Pekala, 2015). Hypnosis is thought to affect both active and perceptual inference, as well as perception, per se through attentional modulation (Jamieson, 2016(Jamieson, , 2018Martin and Pacherie, 2019). There are only a handful of studies investigating auditory predictive processes during hypnosis (Csépe et al., 1997;Kallio et al., 1999;Jamieson et al., 2005;Hiltunen et al., 2019; summarized in Table 4B). ...
Article
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The human brain has the astonishing capacity of integrating streams of sensory information from the environment and forming predictions about future events in an automatic way. Despite being initially developed for visual processing, the bulk of predictive coding research has subsequently focused on auditory processing, with the famous mismatch negativity signal as possibly the most studied signature of a surprise or prediction error (PE) signal. Auditory PEs are present during various consciousness states. Intriguingly, their presence and characteristics have been linked with residual levels of consciousness and return of awareness. In this review we first give an overview of the neural substrates of predictive processes in the auditory modality and their relation to consciousness. Then, we focus on different states of consciousness - wakefulness, sleep, anesthesia, coma, meditation, and hypnosis - and on what mysteries predictive processing has been able to disclose about brain functioning in such states. We review studies investigating how the neural signatures of auditory predictions are modulated by states of reduced or lacking consciousness. As a future outlook, we propose the combination of electrophysiological and computational techniques that will allow investigation of which facets of sensory predictive processes are maintained when consciousness fades away.
... Suggestions are believed to produce their effects in part by building upon expectations that subsequently influence perceptual states (15). Highly suggestible individuals thus may have a unique capacity to form precise priors that bias perception in favor of suggestions administered as part of a placebo manipulation (16)(17)(18). ...
... This result is consistent with Bayesian models of placebo hypoalgesia (16,18), the association between response expectancies and suggestibility (15), and the moderating influence of expectancy on the association between suggestibility and placebo responding (19). These effects further accord with the proposal that highly suggestible individuals are characterized by an enhanced propensity for forming precise priors that are subsequently overweighted against sensory evidence (17). ...
Article
Objective: Reliably identifying good placebo responders has pronounced implications for basic research on, and clinical applications of, the placebo response. Multiple studies point to direct verbal suggestibility as a potentially valuable predictor of individual differences in placebo responsiveness, but previous research has produced conflicting results on this association. Methods: In two double-blind studies, we examined whether behavioral direct verbal suggestibility measures involving a correction for compliance would be associated with individual differences in responsiveness to conditioned and unconditioned placebo hypoalgesia using an established placebo analgesia paradigm. In study 1 (n = 57; mean [standard deviation] age = 23.7 [8.1] years; 77% women), we used behavioral hypnotic suggestibility as a predictor of placebo hypoalgesia induced through conditioning and verbal suggestion, whereas in study 2 (n = 78; mean [standard deviation] = 26.1 [7.4] years; 65% women), we measured nonhypnotic suggestibility and placebo hypoalgesia induced through verbal suggestion without conditioning. Results: In study 1, the placebo hypoalgesia procedure yielded a moderate placebo response (g = 0.63 [95% confidence interval = 0.32 to 0.97]), but the response magnitude did not significantly correlate with hypnotic suggestibility (rs = 0.11 [-0.17 to 0.37]). In study 2, the placebo procedure did not yield a significant placebo response across the full sample (g = 0.11 [-0.11 to 0.33]), but the magnitude of individual placebo responsiveness significantly correlated with nonhypnotic suggestibility (rs = 0.27 [0.03 to 0.48]). Conclusions: These results suggest that the extent to which direct verbal suggestibility captures variability in placebo responsiveness depends on the use of conditioning and highlights the utility of suggestibility as a potential contributing factor to placebo responding when placebo hypoalgesia is induced through verbal suggestions.
... Preliminary biological, pharmacological, and behavioral (PPI) research suggest that elevated dopamine is associated with hypnotic suggestibility. Further work should aim to ground assessments of this association within predictive coding accounts of suggestion (Martin & Pacherie, 2019) as corresponding models of schizophrenia attribute an overreliance on priors leading to symptoms to imbalances in dopamine (and glutamate) signaling (Corlett, Honey, & Fletcher, 2016). ...
... Although this would seem to be inconsistent with the MRS results, glutamate concentrations in different anatomical regions do not correlate reliably (e.g., Terhune et al., 2015) and thus these may reflect independent effects that subserve disparate componential abilities (Barnier, Terhune, Polito, & Woody, in press). Aberrant glutamate has been proposed to relate to over-reliance on priors, potentially via dopamine-glutamate interactions (Corlett et al., 2016), and thus the current results have potential implications for predictive coding models of hypnosis (Martin & Pacherie, 2019). ...
Article
A diverse array of studies has been devoted to understanding the neurochemical systems supporting responsiveness to hypnotic suggestions, with implications for experimental and clinical applications of hypnosis. However, this body of research has only rarely been integrated and critically evaluated and the prospects for the reliable pharmacological manipulation of hypnotic suggestibility remain poorly understood. Here we draw on pharmacological, genotyping, neuroimaging, and electrophysiological research to synthesize current knowledge regarding the potential role of multiple widely-studied neurochemicals in response to suggestion. Although we reveal multiple limitations with this body of evidence, we identify converging results implicating different neurochemical systems in response to hypnotic suggestion. We conclude by assessing the extent to which different results align or diverge and outline multiple avenues for future research. Elucidating the neurochemical systems underlying response to suggestion has the potential to significantly advance our understanding of suggestion.
... La personne peut alors témoigner d'un ressenti quasi-onirique différent de la structuration rationnelle usuelle de ses pensées quotidiennes (Orne, 1972 ;Large et al., 2003). Cinquièmement, la transe hypnotique est caractérisée par le « principe d'involontarité », à savoir une expérience de réponse quasi-automatique avec modification du sentiment d'agentivité : le sentiment du sujet d'être à l'origine d'une action et de son contrôle moteur est altéré pendant la transe (Lush & Dienes, 2019 ;Martin & Pacherie, 2019). De fait, selon Lush et Dienes (2019), l'hypnose serait caractérisée par une modification des mécanismes métacognitifs qui participent à la mise en correspondance entre, d'une part, la réalisation intentionnelle d'une action, et d'autre part, le sentiment subjectif d'en être l'auteur. ...
... Ainsi, si l'on suggère que la main du patient est de plus en plus légère jusqu'à s'envoler tranquillement, le sujet sentira sa main se soulever « comme si » elle se soulevait toute seule, sans l'intervention de sa volonté. Cette dimension/caractéristique est la plus typique de l'expérience hypnotique (Martin & Pacherie, 2019). Enfin, il est à noter que la prégnance et l'intensité de ces différents phénomènes peuvent varier d'une personne à l'autre ou même d'une fois sur l'autre. ...
Article
Au sein des approches incarnées de la cognition, un nombre croissant d’études souligne l’étroite intrication, voire le recouvrement, des mécanismes qui sous-tendent la sensorimotricité et la mémoire. Parmi ces approches incarnées, le modèle Act-In (Versace et al., 2014) propose que lors d’une expérience vécue, des traces mnésiques se forment automatiquement par le biais d’une dynamique d’activations et d’intégrations des différentes dimensions de cette expérience, en particulier les dimensions sensorimotrices. Lors d’une seconde expérience vécue ultérieurement, la situation réactive en cascade ces traces antérieures, provoquant ainsi une intégration des dimensions de la situation présente perçue et des situations antérieurement vécues. Ainsi dans ce modèle, la perception de la situation présente peut être influencée par les traces antérieures tout autant que les traces antérieures peuvent être influencées par la perception présente. Parallèlement au développement de ces approches incarnées de la cognition, la question des liens entre la mémoire et le corps est par ailleurs discutée et opérationnalisée dans le domaine de l’hypnose. Depuis l’essor de l’hypnose à la fin du 18e siècle jusqu’à sa pratique actuelle amorcée par Milton Erickson, plusieurs techniques centrales en hypnose utilisent un jeu avec la mémoire de façon à pouvoir accompagner un patient en souffrance physique ou psychique. Notamment, les « régressions en âge » consistent à proposer à un patient de « revivre » un épisode de sa vie de façon à l’aider à dépasser une difficulté actuelle ou modifier une perception présente. Ces techniques centrées sur la mémoire sont courantes et leurs effets sont souvent décrits dans la littérature. Certains domaines spécifiques, comme la question des faux souvenirs qui peuvent apparaître consécutivement « aux régressions en âge », ont donné lieu à des travaux cliniques et expérimentaux alliant mémoire et hypnose. Cependant à l’heure actuelle, ces pratiques ne bénéficient d’aucune base théorique ou conceptuelle consensuelle, et les mécanismes permettant d’expliquer les effets de ces techniques sont encore mal compris. En conséquence, à travers le prisme d’une réflexion pluridisciplinaire, cet article poursuit un double objectif. Premièrement, il s’agit de discuter de la pertinence heuristique du modèle Act-in pour comprendre pourquoi ces techniques d’hypnose qui disent utiliser des processus mémoriels produisent leurs effets. Deuxièmement, il s’agit de discuter des perspectives offertes par l’hypnose, et en particulier l’intérêt de ces techniques, pour étayer l’arsenal méthodologique qui permet d’explorer la dimension dynamique et incarnée de la mémoire humaine.
... Suggestions can dramatically alter how individuals processing perceptual information (e.g., Lifshitz, Aubert Bonn, Fischer, Kashem, & Raz, 2013), including the suppression of visual inputs on visual processing (Schmidt, Hecht, Naumann, & Miltner, 2017). Conversely, evidence remains ambiguous as to whether they can reliably infuse novel information into the perceptual stream, which contrasts with prominent theories that emphasize the ability of hypnosis to generate perceptual experiences and hallucinations (e.g., Kirsch & Braffman, 2001;Martin & Pacherie, 2019;Spiegel, 2003). In particular, glaring caveats often weaken findings that support such viewpoints like reliance on selfreports prone to bias and demand characteristics (e.g., Kirsch et al., 2008), reverse inferences from brain imaging (e.g., McGeown et al., 2012), as well as small samples and anecdotal case studies (e.g., S. Kallio & Koivisto, 2013). ...
Article
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Suggestions can cause some individuals to miss or disregard existing visual stimuli, but can they infuse sensory input with nonexistent information? Although several prominent theories of hypnotic suggestion propose that mental imagery can change our perceptual experience, data to support this stance remain sparse. The present study addressed this lacuna, showing how suggesting the presence of physically absent, yet critical, visual information transforms an otherwise difficult task into an easy one. Here, we show how adult participants who are highly susceptible to hypnotic suggestion successfully hallucinated visual occluders on top of moving objects. Our findings support the idea that, at least in some people, suggestions can add perceptual information to sensory input. This observation adds meaningful weight to theoretical, clinical, and applied aspects of the brain and psychological sciences.
... 191) According to some hypnosis theorists (Kirsch, 1991;Lynn, Kirsch, & Hallquist, 2008;Orne, 1959;Spanos, 1991), suggestions contain cues and demands that activate response sets comprised of networks of associations that form intentions, anticipations, and expectations that often arise automatically and unconsciously in hypnosis, as they do in everyday life. However, because suggestions are conveyed in the context of hypnosis, there is a higher probability that participants will attribute the involuntary "feel" of suggestions to the hypnotist or to the influence of hypnosis more globally (Dienes & Perner, 2007;Kirsch & Lynn, 1999;Martin & Pacherie, 2019). Highly suggestible participants typically evince a high readiness or cognitive commitment to respond, which is expressed as a low threshold to respond to hypnotic suggestions effortlessly and to process information with greater automaticity and with minimal critical conscious introspection or metaconscious-ness (Dienes & Perner, 2007;Dixon, Brunet, & Laurence, 1990;Dixon & Laurence, 1992a;Laurence, Beaulieu-Prévost, & Du Chéné, 2008;Lynn, Rhue, & Weekes, 1990;Mooneyham & Schooler, 2016). ...
... These accounts emphasised cortical feedback (carrying higher-level predictions) as an efficient alternative to purely feedforward 6 A similar mechanism is raised in a recent account of hypnosis under the predictive processing framework (J.-R. Martin & Pacherie, 2019) . According to their model, motor suggestions trigger abnormal body-directed attentional focus resulting in elevated proprioceptive precision. ...
Thesis
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The ability to reflect on one’s own thinking, metacognition, is a popular topic in consciousness research. However, our understanding of metacognition is still in its infancy and requires an examination of how metacognition relates to consciousness but also important brain functions including attention and memory. This thesis includes several empirical studies that investigate these processes in healthy and clinical populations. The overall view that emerges is metacognition and conscious awareness are closely related but distinct phenomena. Nuanced treatment of this distinction can advance basic and applied research on each process and how they relate to overall brain function.
... 8 Suggestibility may confer heightened sensitivity to symptom-specific cues or dissociative responses to stressors. Moreover, suggestibility has been proposed to reflect a generalized tendency to form precise priors that override various motor and perceptual systems, 31 which is thought to be a key process in FND 13 and symptom reporting more generally. 14 This aligns with research showing that hypnotic suggestibility predicts symptom severity in FND patients. ...
Preprint
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Objective Responsiveness to direct verbal suggestions (suggestibility) has long been hypothesized to represent a predisposing factor for functional neurological disorder (FND) but previous research has yielded conflicting results. The aim of this study was to quantitatively evaluate whether FND patients display elevated suggestibility relative to controls via meta-analysis. Methods Four electronic databases were searched in November 2019, with the search updated in April 2020, for original studies assessing suggestibility using standardized behavioural scales or suggestive symptom induction protocols in FND patients and controls. The meta-analysis followed Cochrane, PRISMA, and MOOSE guidelines. Data extraction and study quality coding were performed by two independent reviewers. Standardized suggestibility scores and responsiveness to symptom induction protocols were used to calculate standardized mean differences (SMDs) between groups. Results Of 26,643 search results, 19 articles presenting 11 standardized suggestibility datasets (FND: n=316; control: n=360) and 11 symptom suggestibility datasets (FND: n=1285; control: n=1409) were included in random-effects meta-analyses. Meta-analyses revealed that FND patients displayed greater suggestibility than controls on standardized behavioural scales (SMD, 0.48 [95% CI, 0.15, 0.81]) and greater responsiveness to suggestive symptom induction (SMD, 1.39 [95% CI, 0.92, 1.86]). Moderation analyses presented mixed evidence regarding the extent to which effect sizes covaried with methodological differences across studies. No evidence of publication bias was found. Conclusions These results corroborate the hypothesis that FND is characterized by heightened responsiveness to verbal suggestion. Atypical suggestibility may confer risk for FND and be a cognitive marker that can inform diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
... This result raises the possibility that reported experiences of embodiment of the RHI may be due, at least in part, to implicit imaginative suggestions arising from the experimental context, putting pressure on accounts of the RHI that are based primarily on multisensory integration. However, the PP view offers a potential solution to this confound too, by considering suggestion effects as top-down expectations of a distinctive kind (see, for example, Martin & Pacherie, 2019). ...
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The search for the neural correlates of consciousness is in need of a systematic, principled foundation that can endow putative neural correlates with greater predictive and explanatory value. Here, we propose the predictive processing framework for brain function as a promising candidate for providing this systematic foundation. The proposal is motivated by that framework’s ability to address three general challenges to finding the neural correlates of consciousness, and to satisfy two constraints common to many theories of consciousness. Implementing the search for neural correlates of consciousness through the lens of predictive processing delivers strong potential for predictive and explanatory value through detailed, systematic mappings between neural substrates and phenomenological structure. We conclude that the predictive processing framework, precisely because it at the outset is not itself a theory of consciousness, has significant potential for advancing the neuroscience of consciousness.
... 11 Suggestibility may confer heightened sensitivity to symptom-specific cues or dissociative responses to stressors. 32 Moreover, suggestibility has been proposed to reflect a generalised tendency to form precise priors that override motor and perceptual systems, 33 which is thought to be a key process in FND 16 and symptom reporting more generally. 17 This aligns with research showing that hypnotic suggestibility predicts symptom severity in patients with FND. ...
Article
Objective Responsiveness to direct verbal suggestions (suggestibility) has long been hypothesised to represent a predisposing factor for functional neurological disorder (FND) but previous research has yielded conflicting results. The aim of this study was to quantitatively evaluate whether patients with FND display elevated suggestibility relative to controls via meta-analysis. Methods Four electronic databases were searched in November 2019, with the search updated in April 2020, for original studies assessing suggestibility using standardised behavioural scales or suggestive symptom induction protocols in patients with FND (including somatisation disorder) and controls. The meta-analysis followed Cochrane, Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses and Meta-analyses Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) guidelines. Data extraction and study quality coding were performed by two independent reviewers. Standardised suggestibility scores and responsiveness to symptom induction protocols were used to calculate standardised mean differences (SMDs) between groups. Results Of 26 643 search results, 19 articles presenting 11 standardised suggestibility data sets (FND: n=316; control: n=360) and 11 symptom suggestibility data sets (FND: n=1285; control: n=1409) were included in random-effect meta-analyses. Meta-analyses revealed that patients with FND displayed greater suggestibility than controls on standardised behavioural scales (SMD, 0.48 (95% C, 0.15 to 0.81)) and greater responsiveness to suggestive symptom induction (SMD, 1.39 (95% CI 0.92 to 1.86)). Moderation analyses presented mixed evidence regarding the extent to which effect sizes covaried with methodological differences across studies. No evidence of publication bias was found. Conclusions These results corroborate the hypothesis that FND is characterised by heightened responsiveness to verbal suggestion. Atypical suggestibility may confer risk for FND and be a cognitive marker that can inform diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
... This result raises the possibility that reported experiences of embodiment of the RHI may be due, at least in part, to implicit imaginative suggestions arising from the experimental context, putting pressure on accounts of the RHI that are based primarily on multisensory integration. However, the PP view offers a potential solution to this confound too, by considering suggestion effects as top-down expectations of a distinctive kind (see, for example, Martin & Pacherie, 2019). ...
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The search for the neural correlates of consciousness is in need of a systematic, principled foundation that can endow putative neural correlates with greater predictive and explanatory value. Here, we propose the predictive processing framework for brain function as a promising candidate for providing this systematic foundation. The proposal is motivated by that framework’s ability to address three general challenges to identifying the neural correlates of consciousness, and to satisfy two constraints common to many theories of consciousness. Implementing the search for neural correlates of consciousness through the lens of predictive processing delivers strong potential for predictive and explanatory value through detailed, systematic mappings between neural substrates and phenomenological structure. We conclude that the predictive processing framework, precisely because it at the outset is not itself a theory of consciousness, has significant potential for advancing the neuroscience of consciousness.
... Hypnosis is based on verbal suggestions to enter into a new state (induction) and to feel and behave according to implicit or explicit suggestions. According to a predictive coding framework, "hypnotisability is a function of the gain set on priors" (50). The impact of the hypnosis induction may be to reduce the relative precision of sensory inputs (weights assigned to bottomup signals) and prediction errors, while focusing attention on verbally suggested priors. ...
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Background: The effectiveness of hypnosis in reducing pain is well supported by the scientific literature. Hypnosis typically involves verbal suggestions but the mechanisms by which verbal contents are transformed into predictive signals to modulate perceptual processes remain unclear. We hypothesized that brain activity during verbal suggestions would predict the modulation of responses to acute nociceptive stimuli. Methods: Brain activity was measured using BOLD-fMRI in healthy participants while they listened to verbal suggestions of HYPERALGESIA, HYPOALGESIA, or NORMAL sensation (control) following a standardized hypnosis induction. Immediately after the suggestions, series of noxious electrical stimuli were administered to assess pain-related responses. Brain responses measured during the suggestions were then used to predict changes in pain-related responses using delayed regression analyses. Results: Listening to suggestions of HYPERALGESIA and HYPOALGESIA produced BOLD decreases (vs. control) in the parietal operculum (PO) and in the anterior midcingulate cortex (aMCC), and increases in the left parahippocampal gyrus (lPHG). Changes in activity in PO, aMCC and PHG during the suggestions predicted larger pain-evoked responses following the HYPERALGESIA suggestions in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the anterior insula (aINS), and smaller pain-evoked responses following the HYPOALGESIA suggestions in the ACC, aMCC, posterior insula (pINS) and thalamus. These changes in pain-evoked brain responses are consistent with the changes in pain perception reported by the participants in HYPERALGESIA and HYPOALGESIA, respectively. Conclusions: The fronto-parietal network (supracallosal ACC and PO) has been associated with self-regulation and perceived self-agency. Deactivation of these regions during suggestions is predictive of the modulation of brain responses to noxious stimuli in areas previously associated with pain perception and pain modulation. The response of the hippocampal complex may reflect its role in contextual learning, memory and pain anticipation/expectations induced by verbal suggestions of pain modulation. This study provides a basis to further explore the transformation of verbal suggestions into perceptual modulatory processes fundamental to hypnosis neurophenomenology. These findings are discussed in relation to predictive coding models.
... Our knowledge about individual differences in hypnotizability (Cardeña and Terhune, 2014), and the processes that are amenable to hypnotic modulation have much improved. As a result, novel theoretical models describing hypnosis fundamental mechanisms have emerged (Benham et al., 2006;Dienes & Hutton, 2013;Dienes & Perner, 2007;Lynn et al., 2008;Martin & Pacherie, 2019). While most of these models coincide in characterizing hypnotic responding as the result of top-down control strategies , there is still substantial debate concerning the limits of how much can hypnotic suggestion tamper with attentional resources (Jensen et al., 2015). ...
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To understand the role that attention plays in the deployment timeline of hypnotic anger modulation , we composed an Attentional Blink paradigm where the first and second targets were faces, expressing neutral or angry emotions. We then suppressed the salience of angry faces through a "hypnotic numbing" suggestion. We found that hypnotic suggestion just attenuated the emotional salience of the second target (T2). By implementing drift-diffusion decision modelling, we also found that hypnotic suggestion mainly affected decision thresholds. These findings suggest that hypnotic numbing resulted from belated changes in response strategy. Interestingly, a contrast against non-hypnotized participants revealed that the numbing suggestion had the instruction-like feature of incorporating emotional valence into the attentional task-set. Together, our results portray hypnotic anger modulation as a two-tiered process: first, hypnotic suggestion alters the attentional task-set; second, provided processing and response preparation are not interrupted, a hypnotizability-dependent response based on said altered task-set is produced through late cognitive control strategies.
... Being hypnotized means being in a state of accepting suggestions (stories) from outside as one's own narrative. If a person's existing generative model gets weakened or flattened, it is more likely the person is ready to entertain stories from outside-the person becomes more "suggestible" -and this is the moment of "the alteration of the sense of agency (SoA)" (Martin and Pacherie, 2019). If we can weaken the patient's generative model, the guidance, or verbal communication, during touch would have stronger effects in replacing the old habit of interpretation. ...
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This paper offers theoretical explanations for why "guided touch" or manual touch with verbal communication can be an effective way of treating the body (e.g., chronic pain) and the mind (e.g., emotional disorders). The active inference theory suggests that chronic pain and emotional disorders can be attributed to distorted and exaggerated patterns of interoceptive and proprioceptive inference. We propose that the nature of active inference is abductive. As such, to rectify aberrant active inference processes, we should change the "Rule" of abduction, or the "prior beliefs" entailed by a patient's generative model. This means pre-existing generative models should be replaced with new models. To facilitate such replacement-or updating-the present treatment proposes that we should weaken prior beliefs, especially the one at the top level of hierarchical generative models, thereby altering the sense of agency, and redeploying attention. Then, a new prior belief can be installed through inner communication along with manual touch. The present paper proposes several hypotheses for possible experimental studies. If touch with verbal guidance is proven to be effective, this would demonstrate the relevance of active inference and the implicit prediction model at a behavioral level. Furthermore, it would open new possibilities of employing inner communication interventions, including self-talk training, for a wide range of psychological and physical therapies.
... We are often not consciously aware of the music, but it affects us. Another example would be a hypnotic suggestion [29]. In one experiment, a group of men were told under hypnosis that they were women and that they would not remember being given the suggestion [30]. ...
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In this paper I will address questions about will, agency, choice, consciousness, relevant brain regions, impacts of disorders, and their therapeutics, and I will do this by referring to my theory, Dual-brain Psychology, which posits that within most of us there exist two mental agencies with different experiences, wills, choices, and behaviors. Each of these agencies is associated as a trait with one brain hemisphere (either left or right) and its composite regions. One of these agencies is more adversely affected by past traumas, and is more immature and more symptomatic, while the other is more mature and healthier. The theory has extensive experimental support through 17 peer-reviewed publications with clinical and non-clinical research. I will discuss how this theory relates to the questions about the nature of agency and I will also discuss my published theory on the physical nature of subjective experience and its relation to the brain, and how that theory interacts with Dual-Brain Psychology, leading to further insights into our human nature and its betterment.
... In other terms, in terms of the predictive coding model, to start a movement, predictions must be given a higher weight than sensory feedback from the external world (i.e., active inference); however, participants will only perceive their response as externally originated if prediction errors have a higher weight than predictions (i.e., perceptual inference) (Brown et al., 2013;Clark, 2013). There are several different theoretical attempts to explain the sense of involuntariness during hypnotic-induced actions via the predictive coding model (e.g., Jamieson, 2016;Martin & Pacherie, 2019); however, here, we will only focus on one presented by SATH. ...
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Individuals differ in their responsiveness to hypnotic suggestions. However, defining and measuring hypnotizability is contentious because standardized scales, such as the Harvard group scale (HGSHS:A), measure a mixture of general suggestibility and its alteration due to hypnotic induction (hypnotizability). Exploratory factor analyses (FA) of standardized scales indicated their multidimensionality; however, the number and nature of latent factors are debated. We applied Confirmatory FA to the HGSHS:A scores of 477 volunteers and tested several theory-driven models. Scores were best explained by a bifactor model consisting of a G-factor and three correlated minor factors. The presented bifactor model shows that two sources of variability affect HGSHS:A simultaneously. Structural equation modeling revealed that the challenge-ideomotor factor predicts the other two minor factors, implying these suggestions might require more fundamental processes than other types. These results demonstrate the multifaceted and bifactorial structure of hypnotic suggestibility and underscore the desideratum for developing more differentiated scales.
... Delayed intention awareness has also been observed in FND (Baek et al., 2017;Jungilligens et al., 2020) and conceptually similar results have been reported in those displaying high dissociative absorption (Bregman-Hai et al., 2020). An alternative interpretation of this association can be drawn from predictive processing models of FND Keynejad et al., 2019), and hypnosis (Jamieson, 2021;Martin and Pacherie, 2019). Within the context of predictive processing, highly suggestible individuals may possess an enhanced capacity to form precise symptom priors that override somatic and psychological states, resulting in aberrant motor, cognitive, and perceptual phenomena. ...
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Elevated responsiveness to verbal suggestions is hypothesized to represent a predisposing factor for dissociative disorders (DDs) and related conditions. However, the magnitude of this effect has not been estimated in these populations nor has the potential moderating influence of methodological limitations on effect size variability across studies. This study assessed whether patients with DDs, trauma- and stressor-related disorders (TSDs), and functional neurological disorder (FND) display elevated hypnotic suggestibility. A systematic literature search identified 20 datasets. A random-effects meta-analysis revealed that patients displayed greater hypnotic suggestibility than controls, Hedges’s g=0.92 [0.66, 1.18]. This effect was observed in all subgroups but was most pronounced in the DDs. Although there was some evidence for publication bias, a bias-corrected estimate of the group effect remained significant, g=0.57 [0.30, 0.85]. Moderation analyses did not yield evidence for a link between effect sizes and methodological limitations. These results demonstrate that DDs and related conditions are characterized by elevated hypnotic suggestibility and have implications for the mechanisms, risk factors, and treatment of dissociative psychopathology.
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The authors present French norms for the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A (HGSHS:A). They administered an adapted translation of Shor and Orne’s original text (1962) to a group of 126 paid volunteers. Participants also rated their own responses following our translation of Kihlstrom’s Scale of Involuntariness (2006). Item pass rates, score distributions, and reliability were calculated and compared with several other reference samples. Analyses show that the present French norms are congruous with the reference samples. Interestingly, the passing rate for some items drops significantly if “entirely voluntary” responses (as identified by Kihlstrom’s scale) are scored as “fail.” Copies of the translated scales and response booklet are available online. Copyright
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Loss or reduction of awareness is common in neuropsychiatric disorders and culturally influenced dissociative phenomena but the underlying brain mechanisms are poorly understood. fMRI was combined with suggestions for automatic writing in 18 healthy highly hypnotically suggestible individuals in a within-subjects design to determine whether clinical alterations in awareness of thought and movement can be experimentally modelled and studied independently of illness. Subjective ratings of control, ownership, and awareness of thought and movement, and fMRI data were collected following suggestions for thought insertion and alien control of writing movement, with and without loss of awareness. Subjective ratings confirmed that suggestions were effective. At the neural level, our main findings indicated that loss of awareness for both thought and movement during automatic writing was associated with reduced activation in a predominantly left-sided posterior cortical network including BA 7 (superior parietal lobule and precuneus), and posterior cingulate cortex, involved in self-related processing and awareness of the body in space. Reduced activity in posterior parietal cortices may underlie specific clinical and cultural alterations in awareness of thought and movement. Clinically, these findings may assist development of imaging assessments for loss of awareness of psychological origin, and interventions such as neurofeedback.
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Previous research has suggested that highly hypnotisable participants (‘highs’) are more sensitive to the bistability of ambiguous figures—as evidenced by reporting more perspective changes of a Necker cube—than low hypnotisable participants (‘lows’). This finding has been interpreted as supporting the hypothesis that highs have more efficient sustained attentional abilities than lows. However, the higher report of perspective changes in highs in comparison to lows may reflect the implementation of different expectation-based strategies as a result of differently constructed demand characteristics according to one’s level of hypnotisability. Highs, but not lows, might interpret an instruction to report perspective changes as an instruction to report many changes. Using a Necker cube as our bistable stimulus, we manipulated demand characteristics by giving specific information to participants of different hypnotisability levels. Participants were told that previous research has shown that people with similar hypnotisability as theirs were either very good at switching or maintaining perspective versus no information. Our results show that highs, but neither lows nor mediums, were strongly influenced by the given information. However, highs were not better at maintaining the same perspective than participants with lower hypnotisability. Taken together, these findings favour the view that the higher sensitivity of highs in comparison to lows to the bistability of ambiguous figures reflect the implementation of different strategies. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00426-017-0850-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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Contemporary theoretical debates about the nature of hypnosis are rooted in the behaviors and experiences of a few subjects who seem to respond in an intriguing, sometimes surprising way to a hypnotic induction. As this article explains, understanding the highly hypnotizable subject's behaviors and experiences goes beyond the hypnotic domain. Phenomena demonstrated over the centuries by these subjects, whether or not they were hypnotized, have influenced theoretical approaches and have fueled many clinical controversies. While mentioning the difference in the levels of hypnotizability in subjects, this article also cites the interpretations placed on the unusual abilities of highly hypnotizable subjects. However, it states that hypnotizability in its traditional meaning is not really defined or not even as an imaginative suggestibility for that matter. It states that the main characteristics of hypnotizability are still to be identified, no matter if its ability is looked at in or out of the hypnotic context.
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Sense of agency refers to the feeling of controlling an external event through one's own action. On one influential view, agency depends on how predictable the consequences of one's action are, getting stronger as the match between predicted and actual effect of an action gets closer. Thus, sense of agency arises when external events that follow our action are consistent with predictions of action effects made by the motor system while we perform or simply intend to perform an action. According to this view, agency is inferred retrospectively, after an action has been performed and its consequences are known. In contrast, little is known about whether and how internal processes involved in the selection of actions may influence subjective sense of control, in advance of the action itself, and irrespective of effect predictability. In this article, we review several classes of behavioral and neuroimaging data suggesting that earlier processes, linked to fluency of action selection, prospectively contribute to sense of agency. These findings have important implications for better understanding human volition and abnormalities of action experience.
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The experience of agency, i.e., the registration that I am the initiator of my actions, is a basic and constant underpinning of our interaction with the world. Whereas several accounts have underlined predictive processes as the central mechanism (e.g., the comparator model by C. Frith), others emphasized postdictive inferences (e.g., post-hoc inference account by D. Wegner). Based on increasing evidence that both predictive and postdictive processes contribute to the experience of agency, we here present a unifying but at the same time parsimonious approach that reconciles these accounts: predictive and postdictive processes are both integrated by the brain according to the principles of optimal cue integration. According to this framework, predictive and postdictive processes each serve as authorship cues that are continuously integrated and weighted depending on their availability and reliability in a given situation. Both sensorimotor and cognitive signals can serve as predictive cues (e.g., internal predictions based on an efferency copy of the motor command or cognitive anticipations based on priming). Similarly, other sensorimotor and cognitive cues can each serve as post-hoc cues (e.g., visual feedback of the action or the affective valence of the action outcome). Integration and weighting of these cues might not only differ between contexts and individuals, but also between different subject and disease groups. For example, schizophrenia patients with delusions of influence seem to rely less on (probably imprecise) predictive motor signals of the action and more on post-hoc action cues like e.g., visual feedback and, possibly, the affective valence of the action outcome. Thus, the framework of optimal cue integration offers a promising approach that directly stimulates a wide range of experimentally testable hypotheses on agency processing in different subject groups.
Book
This book focuses on the scientific study of the human sense of agency. It discusses the causes and consequences of the subjective experience of being in control of one's actions, and, through them, of events in the outside world. The book brings together some of the world's leading researchers on the topic. It aims to provide the first structured survey of this nascent but rapidly growing field.
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In adult life, people normally know what they are doing. This experience of controlling one's own actions and, through them, the course of events in the outside world is called 'sense of agency'. It forms a central feature of human experience; however, the brain mechanisms that produce the sense of agency have only recently begun to be investigated systematically. This recent progress has been driven by the development of better measures of the experience of agency, improved design of cognitive and behavioural experiments, and a growing understanding of the brain circuits that generate this distinctive but elusive experience. The sense of agency is a mental and neural state of cardinal importance in human civilization, because it is frequently altered in psychopathology and because it underpins the concept of responsibility in human societies.
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Imaging of the living human brain elucidates the neural dynamics of hypnosis; however, few reliable brain patterns emerge across studies. Here, we methodically assess neuroimaging assays of hypnosis to uncover common neural configurations using a twofold approach. First, we systematically review research on the neural correlates of hypnotic phenomena; then, we meta-analyze these collective data seeking specific activation and deactivation patterns that typify hypnosis. Anchored around the role of top-down control processes, our comprehensive examination focuses on the involvement of intrinsic brain networks known to operationalize cognitive control and self-referential cognition, including the executive, salience, and default networks. We discuss how these neural dynamics may relate to contemporary theories of hypnosis and show that hypnosis correlates with activation of the lingual gyrus—a brain region involved in higher-order visual processing and mental imagery. Our findings help to better understand the neurobiological substrates comprising the appellation hypnosis.
Article
Hypnosis has proven clinical utility, yet changes in brain activity underlying the hypnotic state have not yet been fully identified. Previous research suggests that hypnosis is associated with decreased default mode network (DMN) activity and that high hypnotizability is associated with greater functional connectivity between the executive control network (ECN) and the salience network (SN). We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate activity and functional connectivity among these three networks in hypnosis. We selected 57 of 545 healthy subjects with very high or low hypnotizability using two hypnotizability scales. All subjects underwent four conditions in the scanner: rest, memory retrieval, and two different hypnosis experiences guided by standard pre-recorded instructions in counterbalanced order. Seeds for the ECN, SN, and DMN were left and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC), and posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), respectively. During hypnosis there was reduced activity in the dACC, increased functional connectivity between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC;ECN) and the insula in the SN, and reduced connectivity between the ECN (DLPFC) and the DMN (PCC). These changes in neural activity underlie the focused attention, enhanced somatic and emotional control, and lack of self-consciousness that characterizes hypnosis.
Chapter
Imaginal processes have been associated with the topic of hypnosis since the report of the French Royal Commission on animal magnetism in the late eighteenth century (Franklin et al., 1784/1970). Much contemporary research on imagery and hypnosis has revolved around two empirical issues. One issue deals with the hypothesis that hypnotic procedures facilitate the vividness of imagery to a greater extent than do nonhypnotic procedures, and the second deals with the relationships between imaginal propensities and hypnotizability. This paper will review empirical evidence relating to these two issues.
Article
Discussion on dissociation theories of hypnosis has always faced an unpromising enigma over the exact meaning of the word 'dissociation' in the context of hypnosis. Hilgard (1977), who appropriated the term 'dissociation' from Janet (1901), called his theory of hypnosis 'neodissociation theory' to distinguish it from some of Janet's ideas, such as the concept that people who show dissociation have a particular form of mental deficit or biologically based weak-mindedness. This article reviews how Hilgard's concept of dissociation evolved as it appeared to mean several quite different things. Due to vagueness and inconsistencies, dissociation theories of hypnosis have been open to fairly strong lines of criticism. Aiming for the greatest possible clarity about the particular meaning of the concept of 'disassociation', this article argues that certain ideas that may be grouped under the term 'dissociation' hold great promise in understanding hypnosis.
Article
This article sets out the key issues, activities, and directions for experimental and clinical hypnosis in the context of the definitions in fresh ways by researchers and practitioners in the twenty-first century. It explores some of the reasons why the field of hypnosis has evolved in modern times in the way that it has, and it considers when and why particular questions have been asked about hypnosis to generate its theoretical and empirical knowledge base. People and places have influenced the questions that have been asked about hypnosis and the way they have been answered at particular times. Furthermore this article survey the landscape of the hypnosis field, and suggest some of the next generation of questions that need to be asked as well as some of the methods that should be used. It also point to some yardsticks for the next generation of theoretical and empirical contributions to the field.
Article
The salience network (SN) is a large-scale paralimbic–limbic network anchored in the anterior insula and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex with prominent subcortical nodes in affect and reward processing systems. The SN plays a crucial role in identifying the most biologically and cognitively relevant events for adaptively guiding attention and behavior and constitutes a key interface for cognitive, homeostatic, motivational, and affective systems.
Article
Relations between sustained attentional and disattentional abilities and hypnotic susceptibility (Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility: Form A; Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale: Form C) were examined in 38 low(0-3)and 39 highly(10-12) hypnotizable college students. Highs showed greater sustained attention on Necker cube and autokinetic movement tasks and self-reported greater absorption (Tellegen Absorption Scale) and extremely focused attentional (Differential Attentional Processes Inventory) styles. Hypnotizability was unrelated to dichotic selective attention (A. Karlin, 1979) and random number generation (C. Graham & F. J. Evans, 1977) tasks. Discriminant analysis correctly classified 74% of the lows and 69% of the highs. Results support H. J. Crawford and J. H. Gruzelier's (1992) neuropsychophysiological model of hypnosis that proposes that highly hypnotizable persons have a more efficient far frontolimbic sustained attentional and disattentional system.
Article
Over more than two decades, studies using imaging techniques of the living human brain have begun to explore the neural correlates of hypnosis. The collective findings provide a gripping, albeit preliminary, account of the underlying neurobiological mechanisms involved in hypnotic phenomena. While substantial advances lend support to different hypotheses pertaining to hypnotic modulation of attention, control, and monitoring processes, the complex interactions among the many mediating variables largely hinder our ability to isolate robust commonalities across studies. The present account presents a critical integrative synthesis of neuroimaging studies targeting hypnosis as a function of suggestion. Specifically, hypnotic induction without task-specific suggestion is examined, as well as suggestions concerning sensation and perception, memory, and ideomotor response. The importance of carefully designed experiments is highlighted to better tease apart the neural correlates that subserve hypnotic phenomena. Moreover, converging findings intimate that hypnotic suggestions seem to induce specific neural patterns. These observations propose that suggestions may have the ability to target focal brain networks. Drawing on evidence spanning several technological modalities, neuroimaging studies of hypnosis pave the road to a more scientific understanding of a dramatic, yet largely evasive, domain of human behavior.
Article
Schizophrenic patients experiencing passivity phenomena believe their thoughts and actions to be those of external, or alien, entities. We wished to test the hypothesis that voluntary motor action in such patients would be associated with aberrant patterns of activation within the cerebral motor system. We used H2(15)O PET to study patients while they performed paced joystick movements on two occasions 4-6 weeks apart. During the first scan passivity symptoms were maximal, while by the second scan these symptoms had significantly improved in five of the seven patients. Two control groups were also scanned on two occasions: deluded schizophrenic patients without passivity phenomena and normal subjects. In normal subjects, performance of freely selected joystick movements with the right hand, compared with rest, revealed relative activation of prefrontal, premotor, motor and parietal cortical regions. Schizophrenic patients with passivity showed hyperactivation of parietal and cingulate cortices. This hyperactivation remitted in those subjects in whom passivity decreased over time. This reversible hyperactivity was not a feature of schizophrenics without passivity. Given that these hyperactive cerebral regions subserve attention to internal and external bodily space, and the attribution of significance to sensory information, they provide a plausible anatomical substrate for the misattribution of internally generated acts to external entities: the cardinal feature of delusions of passivity (alien control).
Article
The right inferior frontal cortex (rIFC) and the right anterior insula (rAI) have been implicated consistently in inhibitory control, but their differential roles are poorly understood. Here we use multiple quantitative techniques to dissociate the functional organization and roles of the rAI and rIFC. We first conducted a meta-analysis of 70 published inhibitory control studies to generate a commonly activated right fronto-opercular cortex volume of interest (VOI). We then segmented this VOI using two types of features: (1) intrinsic brain activity; and (2) stop-signal task-evoked hemodynamic response profiles. In both cases, segmentation algorithms identified two stable and distinct clusters encompassing the rAI and rIFC. The rAI and rIFC clusters exhibited several distinct functional characteristics. First, the rAI showed stronger intrinsic and task-evoked functional connectivity with the anterior cingulate cortex, whereas the rIFC had stronger intrinsic and task-evoked functional connectivity with dorsomedial prefrontal and lateral fronto-parietal cortices. Second, the rAI showed greater activation than the rIFC during Unsuccessful, but not Successful, Stop trials, and multivoxel response profiles in the rAI, but not the rIFC, accurately differentiated between Successful and Unsuccessful Stop trials. Third, activation in the rIFC, but not rAI, predicted individual differences in inhibitory control abilities. Crucially, these findings were replicated in two independent cohorts of human participants. Together, our findings provide novel quantitative evidence for the dissociable roles of the rAI and rIFC in inhibitory control. We suggest that the rAI is particularly important for detecting behaviorally salient events, whereas the rIFC is more involved in implementing inhibitory control.
Article
Attempts to measure the ability to experience hypnosis first began within the context of 19th century clinical practice (Perry & Laurence, 1980). Braid (1855/1970), for example, proposed a tripartite classification in terms of three "stages" or degrees of hypnotic depth, which he labelled as "slight hypnosis", "deep hypnosis" and "hypnotic coma". The first of these referred to what is experienced by approximately 90% of the population; at that time, given the close parallel drawn between hypnosis and nocturnal sleep a degree of lethargy was most commonly reported, as opposed to the more frequent current experience of relaxation. At the same time, the person in "slight hypnosis", then as now, had no subsequent loss of memory. The subsequent two "stages" involved different forms of post hypnotic amnesia: "deep hypnosis" involved being able to remember the events of a particular hypnotic session only in a subsequent one, while "hypnotic coma" represented a permanent amnesia for what was experienced in a particular hypnosis session. These two amnesias are rarely, if ever, seen today, mainly because current investigators see posthypnotic amnesia as a suggested phenomenon, rather than as "spontaneous". By contrast, the amnesias of a century and a half ago appear to have been the products of shared implicit views held by both hypnotic practitioners and hypnotized patients about the manner in which hypnotic response manifests itself; the belief of both patients and therapists that "spontaneous" amnesia was to be expected most likely led to its occurrence in those patients possessing the abilities of the highly hypnotizable. Viewed in this manner, such amnesias offer striking instances of how the demand characteristics (Orne, 1959) of history markedly influenced the behavior observed in hypnosis at these earlier times. A review of the literature reveals that many clinicians subsequent to Braid attempted to further categorize degrees of responsivity to hypnosis, with Bernheim (1889) proposing nine such categories, each defined in terms of behavioral responses that were thought to have subjective accompaniments. Interestingly, Bernheim's taxonomy of hypnotic responsivity bears a close resemblance to what is found today utilizing one of the currently available standardized measuring instruments of hypnotic ability (see Perry & Laurence, 1980, for a review of this literature).
Article
The field of hypnosis anticipated the current interest in consciousness and has contributed in many ways to its conceptualization and research. This paper is divided into 3 sections. The first describes how hypnosis has enriched the study of alterations of consciousness, considered as dynamic processes subject to important individual differences. This section also considers how hypnosis offers an expanded but cautious view of human potentialities, including the possibility of anomalous cognition. The second section argues that descriptions of alternative selves or sets of mental processes, central to the hypnosis literature, provide insights into contemporary discussions of dissociative and nonconscious processes and the constructive nature of identity. The final section focuses on how hypnosis has emphasized sociocultural interactions, helping illuminate the intersubjective construal of conscious experience. Far from being an outdated set of theories, techniques, and data, hypnosis has much to offer to our understanding of consciousness.
Book
A new theory is taking hold in neuroscience. It is the theory that the brain is essentially a hypothesis-testing mechanism, one that attempts to minimise the error of its predictions about the sensory input it receives from the world. It is an attractive theory because powerful theoretical arguments support it, and yet it is at heart stunningly simple. Jakob Hohwy explains and explores this theory from the perspective of cognitive science and philosophy. The key argument throughout The Predictive Mind is that the mechanism explains the rich, deep, and multifaceted character of our conscious perception. It also gives a unified account of how perception is sculpted by attention, and how it depends on action. The mind is revealed as having a fragile and indirect relation to the world. Though we are deeply in tune with the world we are also strangely distanced from it. The first part of the book sets out how the theory enables rich, layered perception. The theory's probabilistic and statistical foundations are explained using examples from empirical research and analogies to different forms of inference. The second part uses the simple mechanism in an explanation of problematic cases of how we manage to represent, and sometimes misrepresent, the world in health as well as in mental illness. The third part looks into the mind, and shows how the theory accounts for attention, conscious unity, introspection, self and the privacy of our mental world.
Article
Previous studies have shown that misperceptions and illusory experiences can occur if sensory stimulation is withdrawn or becomes invariant even for short periods of time. Using a perceptual deprivation paradigm, we created a monotonous audiovisual environment and asked participants to verbally report any auditory, visual or body-related phenomena they experienced. The data (analysed using a variant of interpretative phenomenological analysis) revealed two main themes: (1) reported sensory phenomena have different spatial characteristics ranging from simple percepts to the feeling of immersion in a complex multisensory environment and (2) the active contribution of the perceiver where participants report engaging in exploratory processes even when there is nothing to find. Detailed analysis of the qualitative data further showed that participants who reported more perceptual phenomena were more likely to report internal bodily sensations, move more during the experiment and score higher on the Revised Hallucination Scale than those reporting fewer percepts explicitly linking perceptual deprivation to somatic phenomena. The results demonstrate how the variety of sensory experiences induced by perceptual deprivation can give further insight into the factors mediating conscious awareness and may suggest ways in which the brain imposes meaning on the environment under invariant sensory conditions.
Article
Following a hypnotic amnesia suggestion, highly hypnotically suggestible subjects may experience amnesia for events. Is there a failure to retrieve the material concerned from autobiographical (episodic) memory, or is it retrieved but blocked from consciousness? Highly hypnotically suggestible subjects produced free-associates to a list of concrete nouns. They were then given an amnesia suggestion for that episode followed by another free association list, which included 15 critical words that had been previously presented. If episodic retrieval for the first trial had been blocked, the responses on the second trial should still have been at least as fast as for the first trial. With semantic priming, they should be faster. In fact, they were on average half a second slower. This suggests that the material had been retrieved but blocked from consciousness. A goal-oriented information processing framework is outlined to interpret these and related data.
Article
A considerable body of evidence has accumulated over recent years on the functions of the default-mode network (DMN) - a set of brain regions whose activity is high when the mind is not engaged in specific behavioral tasks and low during focused attention on the external environment. In this review, we focus on DMN suppression and its functional role in health and disease, summarizing evidence that spans several disciplines, including cognitive neuroscience, pharmacological neuroimaging, clinical neuroscience, and theoretical neuroscience. Collectively, this research highlights the functional relevance of DMN suppression for goal-directed cognition, possibly by reducing goal-irrelevant functions supported by the DMN (e.g., mind-wandering), and illustrates the functional significance of DMN suppression deficits in severe mental illness.
Article
Contents include: What Is Hypnosis?; Role of Hypnotic Induction; Aftereffects of Hypnosis; Hypnotic Susceptibility and Its Assessment; Facilitation and Inhibition of Muscular Response; Analgesia and Hallucinations; Hypnotic Dreams; Hyperamnesia and Age-Regression; Posthypnotic Amnesia and Other Posthypnotic Responses; Distortions of Meaning, Affect, and the Image of Self; General-Purpose Scale: SHSS, Forms A and B; Graded Difficulty Scale: SHSS, Form C; Scales Yielding Profiles of Hypnotic Ability: Stanford Profile Scales of Hypnotic Susceptibility (SPS), Forms I and II; Descriptive Characteristics: Age, Sex, Neuropsychiatric Diagnosis; Hypnoticlike Experiences Outside Hypnosis; Attitudes Toward Hypnosis and Self-Predictions; Personality Inventories, Projective Tests, and Behavioral Tests; Personality and Hypnotizability: Inferences from Case Studies; Developmental-Interactive Theory of Hypnotic Susceptibility. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Reviews research on placebos, hypnosis, and fear reduction that indicates that response expectancies, defined as expectancies of the occurrence of nonvolitional responses, generate corresponding subjective experiences, the genuineness of which has been substantiated by corresponding changes in behavior and physiological function. The means by which response expectancies affect experience, physiology, and behavior are hypothesized to vary as a function of response mode. The generation of changes in subjective experience by corresponding response expectancies is suggested to be a basic psychological mechanism. Physiological effects are accounted for by the mind–body identity assumption that is common to all nondualist philosophies of psychology. It is argued that the effects of response expectancies on volitional behavior are due to the reinforcing properties of many nonvolitional responses. Research also indicates that classical conditioning appears to be one method by which response expectancies are acquired, but response expectancy effects that are inconsistent with a conditioning hypothesis have also been documented. (134 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)