Anomalous experiences and hypnosis
Anomalous experiences and hypnosis
Etzel Cardeña, Ph.D. Thorsen Professor of Psychology, Lund University, Sweden
Running head: Anomalous experiences and hypnosis
Corresponding author: Etzel Cardeña, Ph. D. Thorsen Professor Department of Psychology Lund University P.O. Box 213 SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden Telephone number: (0)46 46 2228770, fax (department of psychology) 46 46 222 4209 email: Etzel.Cardena@psychology.lu.se webpage: http://www.psychology.lu.se/Personal/e_cardena/
floating. With respect to alterations of consciousness within the hypnotic context. sinking). seems to deviate from the culture's conception of reality (e. most previous work has had the confound of specific suggestions. Many of these phenomena have also been observed during other altered states such as OBEs and NDEs. there are some reports that are still baffling and both the consistency of the reports and more recent metaanalytic work suggest that we should investigate the psi-hypnosis relationship more programmatically. While there is growing interest on topics such as the therapeutic uses of hypnosis. and present recently published data that supports specific alterations associated with experienced depth: mostly relaxation during a resting baseline. It is typically assumed that what we acknowledge as hypnotic phenomena and procedures derive from the techniques of the 18th Century physician Franz Anton Mesmer. mesmerism and its later development as hypnosis have been related to reputed psi-phenomena and to various alterations of consciousness.
. and dreamlike and transcendental (e.g. The gist of this paper will focus on spontaneous alterations of consciousness within the hypnotic context. hypnosis and psi phenomena. 2000)..
Mesmerism. and radical alterations of body image (e.g.. mild to moderate changes in sensations and body image during light/medium hypnosis. other areas have been neglected in contemporary research. g. Lynn. Although most of the older literature would not stand up to current methodological strictures. psi phenomena.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis
Throughout its history. which have been of great interest to the parapsychology field. after a brief discussion of mesmerism. An anomalous experience can be defined as a statistically uncommon alteration of consciousness (e. synesthesia). Cardeña. merging with a light) during deep and very deep hypnosis.g. among them spontaneous anomalous experiences within the hypnotic context. and psi phenomena
Ever since the exuberant collective healings of Mesmer in the Paris of the late eighteenth century. In this paper I review the literature on hypnotic phenomenology. including some recently published data. or one that.. although not uncommon. point out its limitations. much has been speculated and researched about the collection of phenomena and techniques that we refer to as hypnosis.. hypnosis. & Krippner.
Most hypnosis researchers in the 20th Century made a concerted effort to eliminate any whiff of paranormality or esoterism. to justify Dingwall's (1967-68) remark concerning a possible connection between psi phenomena and hypnosis that “(A) n attitude of suspended judgment both as regards the past and the present is perhaps the most judicial” (V. 1992). although not programmatic research. allowing them to diagnose and prescribe for their own and others' maladies. B in 19th century France. discovered that one of his "magnetized" peasants. From its inception. not very unlike the exorcisms that Mesmer wished to replace (Laurence & Perry. "magnetic passes" of the mesmerist's hands over the patient's body. on the reputed link between psi phenomena and hypnosis. 1. 1992) are: 1) Psi scoring was higher in hypnosis than control conditions in 16 of 20 studies (p<. These sessions occurred in an emotionally charged setting in which there might be crying. Gauld. however. fainting. 1998). although physically active inductions are effective and have their applications (Cardeña et al. Stanford. 297). Eventually. and so on (Crabtree. and other dramatic behaviors. or indirect contact through rods immersed in "magnetized" water.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis albeit not from his theory of animal magnetism. the Marquis de Puységur. 1988. in which he seemed to manifest a "wiser" self. be hypnotized at a distance. went into what looked like a sleep-like state. p." Among the conclusions of the meta-analyses (Schechter. Victor Race. 1992). psi scoring in the hypnosis condition was significantly higher than MCE (mean chance expectation) in 9 studies. most earlier reports of enhanced paranormal abilities would not meet contemporary criteria for good scientific reporting and control (Gauld. demonstrate telepathy and clairvoyance. and non-significantly higher in 6 others. a model of physical quiescence and suggestions to relax and enter a sleep-like state became what we call nowadays hypnosis. Two meta-analyses of all published studies to that date provide a strong support of Gauld's assertion (1992) that the early mesmerism/hypnosis authors were "certainly on to something. These manifestations became far more subdued after one of his disciples.006. such as the demonstrations by Alexis Didier and Mme. but there were still various controlled studies. They could involve music and a grand entrance by Mesmer himself..
. There were enough suggestive observations. With few exceptions. 1984. This is debatable since Mesmer's procedures differed greatly from current hypnosis. 1988). reports started pouring in that mesmerism/hypnosis enhanced the creativity and paranormal abilities of hypnotically gifted individuals. one tailed) 2) In 19 studies.
One of the most important hypnosis authors of the 19th Century. and alterations of consciousness
Whether or not interpreted as referring to psi phenomena. expansion of time and space. Orne. 1963.. Sacerdote. Evans..g. and there were attempts to categorize them. Multifactorial experiential models of hypnosis involving increased suggestibility. although. lack of reflective awareness/dissociation. or an interaction between the two. 1965). The former. a question that deserves further research is whether reputed enhanced psi phenomena depend on a trait (high hypnotizability). Field. but they do not distinguish between the "artifact" (e. swelling of the head. 1992). Ludwig (1965) gave a questionnaire to participants before and after a long
. such as in inductions of quasi-mystical experiences (e. 1970).e. including phenomena such as "universal clarity" (Ellenberger.. and other anomalous experiences (Cardeña. Kluge. It is puzzling that it has not received more recent attention from the field. "darkness". but there has been little research on hypnotic phenomenology. unspeakable beauty. near-death. phenomena presumably intrinsic to hypnosis.g. 1991. hypnosis. when reviewing the literature on
phenomena described within hypnosis. 2000).g." and However. the specific configuration of the changes became more idiosyncratic. 1967. euphoria.. as in some other areas of psi.. described six degrees (what would be now called "levels") of the magnetic state.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis 3) Methodological flaws did not relate significantly to results. mouth and arms) and body sensations (e. & Krippner. 1959). 1977) are of great interest. and alterations in consciousness/ absorption have been developed (Ås & Ostvold. This is a basic issue in the study of consciousness because hypnotizability has been positively correlated with mystical. "self-contemplation. Cardeña & Spiegel. and a fading of the sense of external reality. a distinction must be made between consciousness alterations in response to specific suggestions and those occurring spontaneously. reports of alterations of consciousness were yoked to mesmeric and hypnotic procedures from the beginning. The possible relationship between hypnosis and psi was identified by Palmer (1987) as one of the strongest findings in parapsychology and deserves a full paper of its own. psi-related. Aaronson. 1968. dizziness and sensations of floating). For instance. especially among very responsive individuals (Weitzenhoffer. a state (the hypnotic context). there seems to be a significant experimenter effect (Stanford. As hypnosis continued. 2000).
Mesmerism. Lynn.g. response to specific suggestions) of hypnosis and its "essence" (i. Gill and Brenman (1959) reported that while entering hypnosis many participants reported changes in body image (e.
which the author interpreted as alterations in thinking and time sense. hypnosis fostered reports of phenomena such as a sense of unreality. move or think. some authors have taken seriously the notion of levels of hypnosis and have researched alterations of highly hypnotizable people during "deep" levels of hypnosis. asking a participant to go as deeply as possible into hypnosis without any other overt suggestions or instructions) and published a report about the phenomenology of a hypnotic "virtuoso. spinning) and a similarity to sleep. and unusual sensations. also found alterations associated with hypnosis in the following areas: body image and sensations. Ernest Hilgard (1968) interviewed 159 participants after their first standard hypnotic induction. self-hypnosis is characterized by greater imagery. changes in body image (in appearance and size). affect. a sense of loss of personal identity. 5) time slowed down until it became meaningless. In a later paper.
. and imagery. In contrast with no-hypnosis. As compared to hetero-hypnosis. decreased affect. besides a general sense of alterations in consciousness. Tart (1970) devised a deep hypnosis procedure (i. More systematically. 2) awareness of breathing gradually disappeared. Reports of unsuggested experiences included disinclination to speak. and receptivity to “internal stimuli” (Fromm et al. dizziness. 1981). More recently. 6) spontaneous mental activity was lost. Besides hypnotic experience in general.g." He described the participant's progression into self-assessed deep hypnosis without any specific suggestions along various dimensions: 1) his body became very relaxed until awareness of the body was lost. and changes in body image and somatic sensations. changes in body sensations (e. floating. 4) sense of identity and ego-awareness waned and gave rise to a sense of potentiality.. Pekala (1991).e. Erickson (1965) wrote about the experiences of hypnosis and other altered states of the eminent consciousness author Aldous Huxley. increased meaning. using his standardized questionnaire. Perhaps the first well-known modern author to dedicate a work specifically to deep hypnosis was Milton Erickson (1952)." He described loss of contact with the body during plenary (very deep) hypnosis and explained it as a pattern of retarded psychological and physiological functioning with lack of spontaneity. and 7) a feeling of oneness with the universe ensued. free-floating attention. The latter described the beginning of hypnotic experience as a withdrawal from outer reality concerns. and lack of mental content. merging with the surroundings. time sense. feelings of compulsion in response to suggestions. who defined it as an "unconscious level of awareness without interference by the conscious mind. 3) absolute blackness was perceived. perception. sense of loss of control. characterized at later stages by changes in body sensation ending in synesthesia.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis hypnotic challenge procedure. meaning..
.42. A medium level of hypnosis was characterized by pleasant emotional experiences. Hilgard. The very deep hypnotic state was also correlated with occurrences of reductions in EEG amplitude.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis Tart's case study was subsequently replicated in within-subject designs. and great brightness. phenomena such as feeling one with the surroundings. 2005) using a "neutral" hypnosis procedure (i. SD=2. 12 individuals were selected (mean age = 20. 8 women). and Tart). wavelike experiences. episodes of absolute mental quiet and voidness. who administered the rarely-used LintonLangs questionnaire). a sense of awe and wonder).. in deeper hypnosis. including: a) no control for relaxation effects (all studies reviewed). and undefined. Feldman (1976) obtained a similar pattern of results as Sherman (at the beginning of hypnosis mainly changes in body image and bodily sensations. no specific suggestions other than asking the person to go into a very deep. Sherman (1971) found statistically significant clusters of phenomena related to deep hypnosis.
Out of an initial sample of about 150 undergraduates. state of hypnosis) with highly hypnotizable participants. feeling oneness with everything. Tart. c) no comparison conditions (Sherman. being immersed in blackness. The criteria for selection included scoring very highly on standardized hypnotizability scales and not manifesting overt pathology.g. motion). and d) lack of a previously validated instrument to evaluate alterations in consciousness (except for Feldman.54. Feldman used a baseline condition as “control"). Despite the consistency of the findings on the phenomenology of deep hypnosis. they have had various methodological shortcomings. worries. simple images. as measured by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality
. The deepest level of hypnosis included difficulties in talking. relaxation. To reduce or eliminate some of these shortcomings and investigate the effect of physical activity on phenomenal experience. an altered sense of time and mystical phenomena such as a sense of oneness and ineffability.e. He also found that participants' expectations were negligible predictors of deep hypnotic phenomena. I carried out a study (Cardeña. and "normal verbal thinking" were reported during light hypnosis. b) no quantitative analysis published and reliance on case studies (Erickson. feeling in a different level of reality. all of them European-American. Ideas. Ernest Hilgard (1986) carried out some informal research and stated that deeply hypnotized individuals spontaneously reported losing contact with their body. loss of individual identity. and body sensation (e.
1981). P=perceptive.. as evaluated by the Myers-Briggs Inventory. consistent with proposals that hypnotic virtuosos tend to be imaginative and creative (Hilgard. and that hypnosis involves a holistic type of thought (Crawford.0193 for 50% probability.92
* According to the Myers-Briggs Inventory. one tailed test) ** Barron's Ego-Strength Scale of the MMPI
. The result of 10 out of 12 participants having an intuitive style of perception would be statistically significant assuming a binomial probability of 50% or even 55% for the distribution of "Ns" among this sample (p=.0421 for 55% probability.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis Inventory (MMPI). this group had very high scores in hypnotizability and the related construct of absorption. As can be seen in Tables 1a-b. intuitive type of perception. J. N=intuition. where E=extraverted. p=. 10 out of the 12 participants tended to have a global. I=introverted. Furthermore. J=judging. T=thinking.42
Sex M M M M F F F F F F F F
Major Physics Psych/Stat Undeclared Physics Linguistics Zool/Psych Biochemistry English English Psychology Psychology Biochemistry
Personality Type* INTP ENFJ ISFJ ENTP INTJ ENFP ENFP INFP INFP ENFP ENTP ESTJ
Egostrength** 50 51 41 46 54 49 45 47 50 49 50 31 46. S=sensing.
Table 1a: Demographic and personality variables
Participant #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 Means
Age 18 23 20 20 27 18 19 20 21 21 18 20 20. F=feeling. 1979).
further details about the statistical analyses and the effect of physical activity can be found elsewhere (Cardeña.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis
Table 1b: Hypnotizability and related variables
HGSHS:A IS 10.
This study was repeated-measures factorial.5
SPS:2 21. score range = 0-27. and having a “motor” do the pedaling at a comfortable rate). Form 1-Revised. They also practiced a numerical selfreport scale of hypnotic depth (0=wide awake… 41= very deep hypnosis). Form2-Revised. score range = 0-38. SPS:2= Stanford Profile Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. with 2 (hypnosis versus no hypnosis) x 3 factors (types of physical stimulation: motionless on a bed or “quiescent. PAS= Perceptual Alterations Scale of the MMPI. score range = 0-27. until they “came out” of hypnosis by
HGSHS:A= Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. SPS:1= Stanford Profile Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility. 1986). In the three hypnosis sessions physical conditions were administered in counterbalanced order. This paper focuses only on hypnotic phenomenology during deep states. three hypnosis training sessions were conducted to familiarize participants with the laboratory and physical conditions. 2005). score range = 0-12. The experiment took place in a silent and dimly lighted room. score range = 0-25. score range = 0-12. SHSS:C= Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale.5
PAS 8.58 26.
After participant selection. score range = 0-34.58
SPS:1 19.” “pedaling” a stationary bicycle at a comfortable rate.08
DPQ 25. which previous research has shown to be a valid indicator of changes in subjective experience (Laurence & Nadon. and let them practice going in and coming out of hypnosis by themselves. the only suggestion was that as the count progressed participants would go into an increasingly deeper level of hypnosis. Form A. with a 130 induction count.75
SHSS:C 10. Form C. IS= Field's Inventory Scale of Hypnotic Depth. DPQ= Absorption Scale of the Differential Personality Questionnaire.
46 (.awareness.29 (.27 (1.
Table 2: Mean scores and SDs in the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory*
3. The length of the hypnosis sessions was not predetermined.
As Table 2 shows.29 (.18 -0.0***
29.95 (1. control sessions were conducted with a 1-30 count.59 (1. as measured by chi squares.9 *** 57.10) 56. After every session participants were interviewed about their experience and completed the Phenomenology of Consciousness Inventory (PCI.8** 0.” to elicit a numerical depth report.83) 0. The sessions were recorded and later transcribed. and descriptions of different levels of hypnosis as evaluated by depth reports.51 (.18 (1.62 (1. and memory.96 1. perception and meaning.8 (1. attentional focus. and the sense of being in an altered state of awareness. but without the suggestion to go into deep hypnosis. but less self.52) 0.05 0.56) 0. After the hypnosis session.97)
2.6** 4.44) 1.89) 0.0 *** 25.53) 0.8* 10. Variables that seem irrelevant to hypnosis such as “sexual excitement” showed no differences between conditions.06 (1.79 (1.1
d 3.0 14.17 (1.1 (1.39 (1.47 (1.89 (1.70 (.15 0. voluntary control.52) 3. 1991) for their “deepest state.32)
1.03) 2. and asked “what are you experiencing?” Participants were free to report their experience at any other point if they so desired.49 2. and amount and vividness of imagery.5
. in-session verbalizations.49 2.5 *** 70. rationality. as measured by the dependent variables of the PCI.10)
4.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis themselves.70)
Body image Time sense Perception Meaning Positive Affect Joy Sexual Excitement Love Negative Affect Anger
3.06) 3.91 (1.02) 0. This paper reports the comparison between the hypnosis and control conditions.13 (1. time sense. At the end of the induction and at 5 minute intervals the experimenter repeated the word “state. and phenomena significantly more frequently endorsed for each level.07 0.99 2.45) 4.74 2.63) 1.9 1. during very deep hypnosis participants mentioned alterations in body image.36) 0.25) 0.86)
Control 0. Pekala." and a comprehensive checklist of psychological phenomena for each level of hypnosis (including no hypnosis).61 (. They also reported increases in affect.0** 20.92) 1.
..71) 3.40) 3..93) 4.3 1. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.0* 0. There were also. "feeling light.g. and so on (e..43) 4.1 29.68 (.3*** 1. tingling sensations"). Relaxation increased.01 1.92 0.29 (1. 2005. Most anomalous phenomena were related to deep and very deep hypnosis.. The sensation of "lightness" became more pronounced.05 Reprinted with kind permission from "The Phenomenology of Deep Hypnosis: Quiescent and Physically Active.83 (1. The next level.83 1.64) 2. I can't really feel my body").31 (.83 (1.76 (. such as the body floating.22) 1. of Awareness Arousal Rationality Voluntary control Memory Internal Dialog 1.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis Sadness Fear Attention Direction Absorption Visual Imagery Amount Vividness Self Awareness A. less frequently.03 (1.5 7.59) 0." There were also changes in body image (e.06) 4.05) 10.47 (1.52 (1. P#2: “My hands have been growing.5** 24.81 1. leaving the physical body. paradoxically." by Etzel Cardeña.47 (1.7** 3.98*** 80.26 (1.g.89) 2.87 (1.42) 2.33 (.g.g.67) 3.28) 3.06 0.05 (1.27 (. At the level of no hypnosis and feeling slightly different than normal.24) 3. p. they are like big rocks”) and an increasing sense of wellbeing (e.83) 4.60) 4.89*** 15. at this level
.06) 5. sometimes into a dark liquid. P#3: "sinking deep.. P #9: "It's just sort of me floating.66) 5.82 3. flying.g. especially in the quiescent condition (e. P #1: "Feeling mellow.8** 19. **= p≤. changes in body image.62 (1.41) 5.16 1.57 (1.79) 4.54 -0.53 (1.01.1** 16. deep").36 (1. was typically mentioned at the beginning of the hypnosis sessions and involved body sensations and.95** 24.18*** 50.46
***= p<.g. In any case.36) 4.46 (2.42) 1. *= p<. light/medium hypnosis.23 -1.07 0.47*** 0." and "spinning.50) 2.30) 1.78 0. participant #11: "Slowly relaxed.
The experience sampling during the sessions and the checklist provide specific information on the content of these alterations and are arranged by the level of hypnosis in which they were typically reported. participants did not report any change other than some relaxation.20) 1.81 (.01 -1.0 9.77) 0.79 -0.08) 4.5 (1. frequent reports of the body falling down (e.04 (1.83 (1. Respondents also mentioned increased concentration on their inner experience and losing touch with the external environment. P #12: "Darkness. both physical and emotional")." P #2 "I don't have a physical body anymore"). 47.98 2.001. along with tingling (e.42 (.89 (1.S.76 (1.87 (1.53) 2.97 (.81) 4.29 (1.94) 1.
..” spontaneous imagery. With respect to cognition. There were ubiquitous reports of both “flashes of light” and “brightness” (e. Overall there was a change of modality from concepts to spontaneous imagery. participants just felt more relaxed.g.
.g. Many transpersonal/spiritual experiences were reported including a sense of timelessness. P #10: “(Pictures) like nothing else in this world: geometric”). and also. which became dreamlike (and experienced as very real) or gave rise to timeless experiences of pure light and love. P #5: "Colors with lots of light and energy"). Light/medium hypnosis was mostly characterized by alterations in body sensations and body image. There were also common reports of “having no thoughts” (e. As hypnosis became "deeper. no sense of clearness").” sometimes interpreted as similar to “dreaming” (although no one was observed to have fallen asleep). and connectedness with all.” and “increased meaningfulness.g. Various categories referring to imagery were endorsed at this level: “increased quality. “being one with everything. Emotions were generally very positive (e.” “greater relatedness.” and “imagery not referable to a sensory modality. which later became experiences of floating/flying (and sometime sinking). paradoxically. P #9: "For a while I was just total nothing").” “greater realness.g. potentiality. not physical. body. sometimes in a cross-modal or synesthetic way (e. P #8: “walking down in a spiral staircase”).g.” “loss of identity. often including geometric designs such as prisms.” A general sequence of hypnosis experience (see Table 3) is that at the beginning. and an overall sense of euphoria..g. along with “greater control” over their mental states while maintaining “free floating” attention. imaginal events (e. meaningfulness. and an increasing disconnection from the body and the environment. grids and tunnels (e.. P #4: "All the feelings that are good just surround me"). Somatic sensations were often incorporated into ongoing.g." there was a shift from conceptual thinking to spontaneous imagery. P #5: "I'm not matter anymore… just energy").” “increased sense of potentiality. no thoughts and cognitive emptiness. P #3: "Complete black. “great obscurity” (e.. insight. although a few respondents also mentioned some fear about the unusualness of the experiences encountered.” “sustained sequences.” but being “in touch with one’s inner self" (e.g. participants mentioned “difficulties remembering” everyday activities but “suddenly remembering” forgotten events... which became more elaborate and vivid. There was as well a sense of “being in a different reality” that entailed “profound personal insight. P #4: “lines of different colors that stretch infinitely… making music that I have never heard before”)..Anomalous experiences and hypnosis if there was an experience of a body it was of a phenomenal.
or to a specific interaction between a trait (high hypnotizability) and a state (the hypnotic context).. “void”
In interviews at the end of the experiments and 8 months later there was no mention of any negative effects. becoming one with all. in general. blackness Slow Trance Well-being
Free-floating Infrequent retrieval of forgotten material Totally absorbed in event. More recent meta-analytic studies make a stronger case for a connection between a hypnotic context and psi performance. however a few observations with exceptional participants are suggestive of actual psi.
Deep/very deep Disembodiedness
None or more intense (e.. decrease in exteroceptive stimulation and greater focus on “internal” stimuli.g. 1977). or absent Complex imagery Timelessness Akin to lucid dream. spinning.. or transcendent SOC Merging. considering the evidence that highly hypnotizables tend to experience anomalous experiences.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis
Table 3: Characteristic phenomena according to hypnotic depth
No Body Sensation Emotion Attention memory Thought Imagery Time Sense State of Consciousness (SOC) Transpersonal experiences Same Same Same Same Same Poor Normal Same None
Deep relaxation. The first one would evaluate to what extent the apparent increase in psi performance is due to a general mechanism (e. deep hypnotic experiences may be of great benefit in therapeutic and self-growth contexts. stand up to current evidential requirements. greater perceptual vividness and dream recall. etc. wonder”)
Mildly positive Focused on body changes Same Decrease of “mental chatter” Simple (e. although two important hypotheses require further testing. light. “awe. decrease in anxiety and nightmares). increased personal insight and inner peace. Honorton. in addition to its research potential.
. geometric forms). but of various positive sequelae (e.g.g.g. This suggests that. earlier reports of enhanced psi abilities would not.
With respect to a possible connection between mesmerism/hypnosis and psi phenomena.
became part of more elaborate imaginal events (as in experiences with psychedelics. a bright light and a sense of pervading well-being (as in near-death experiences. 2000). Alvarado." The participants' reports and an inspection of the cluster of phenomena according to depth level suggests that different levels of hypnosis (e. experiences during “deep states” of
. 1975) than as variations in intensity (Singer.g. 2000) may give rise to mystical beliefs (the "Perennial Philosophy" of Huxley. The studies reviewed also belie the concept of a single "hypnotic state. at least among a highly select group. to experimenter effects or demand characteristics (which were intentionally minimized). 2005. very deep) are better conceptualized as discreetly distinct modes of experiencing (Tart.g. 2003). rather than the converse (Katz. deep hypnosis reports included a sense of the reality of connectedness with everything (the landmark of a mystical experience. when measured. Cardeña. the results of the projects reviewed strongly suggest that different modalities of experience are consistently manifested according to self-assessed levels of hypnotic depth.g. For instance. Feldman. The similarity of reports amongst different participants and with those from other contexts evidence identifiable states of consciousness. geometric constants that. The patterns of spontaneous anomalous experiences by high hypnotizables in a hypnotic context are remarkably consistent and also resemble descriptions of various anomalous experiences. expectations (that. Siegel. and even specific shamanic phenomena such as seeing one’s body as a skeleton (Cardeña. a sense of floating out of the body (as in OBEs. 1977). Also. For instance.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis The second hypothesis would test whether an experimenter effect. have not seemed to account for most phenomena. The results support the notion that anomalous experiences (and their likely neurological underpinnings. 1976). A model of levels of hypnotic experience is consistent with different phenomena mediated by increasing absorption as mentioned in the classical meditation literature (Holroyd. "merging with a light") only at a very deep level support this contention. in some cases. emotional intensity) and the emergence of occurrences (e. they seem to manifest basic aspects of mental states. may explain previous significant findings. 2000). 1983). These results are unlikely to be attributable to religious beliefs (the context was secular and participants seemed to be truly surprised at what they were experiencing). see Newberg & D’Aquilli. In any event. and not hypnosis. 2000). 1946).. 1987). Rather. Wulff. 1977). The non-linearity of certain phenomena (e. Greyson. nor to such events as use of psychoactive drugs or lifethreatening circumstances. the meta-analyses are based on mostly older data that require replication with more sophisticated methodology. light vs.
and could underlie ordinary consciousness (e. Raju. 1997).g. While avoiding the pitfalls of positing a somewhat pejorative "regression" terminology. 37-59. & Ostvold. C. S. love. Cardeña. & S.. finding viscous substances) are consistent with the notion of neurological (Newberg & D’Aquilli. 33-38. S. The phenomenology of deep hypnosis: Quiescent and physically active. E.” Gifford-May & Thompson. E. 2001).g. & Meti.Anomalous experiences and hypnosis meditation (e. Hunt. (1967).) Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Shamanism and Alternate Forms of Healing. some authors maintain that a form of cognition similar to that expressed during deep hypnosis may be common during infancy. Shivani. DC: American Psychological Association. 2000). Scandinavian Journal of Psychology. falling through a tunnel. Some of the imagery (e. In R. I. research in this area seems unlikely to be explained in terms of "faulty brains" (cf. 1994) are interchangeable with those derived from deep hypnosis. Convergences and divergences. Rose. 183-218). Ås. 53. 1988). Alvarado. J.
Aaronson. (1987). Mystic and schizophreniform states and the experience of depth. the phenomena reported in the study are not exclusive to a hypnosis context but are consistent with other findings that hypnotic virtuosos have a propensity to report various anomalous experiences (Pekala & Cardeña.” “you’ve fallen into a hole that’s so deep.. 1985) predispositions and deserve further investigation. Scholars. B. Which brings us to the philosophical question of the nature of deep hypnotic experience. Lynn.). Cardeña.” “utterly serene. Out-of-body experiences. It also bears mentioning that a study with meditators found significant changes in meaning. The varieties of anomalous experience Washington. S. Tompkins. Hypnosis as subjective experience. Deep hypnosis and shamanism. 6.g. California: Southeast Asia (pp. (1968). International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis. (2000). Krippner (Eds. and state of awareness (Venkatesh.. 246-252. 1985). Heinze (Ed. 2000) and psychological (Groff. S.
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