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THE NATURE OF HYPNOSIS: ARTIFACT AND ESSENCE1

MARTIN T. ORNE
Harvard University and Massachusetts Mental Health Center

T
HE most meaningful present-day theories phenomenon unique to hypnosis but can be
of hypnosis interpret hypnotic phe- seen to operate in other experimental and life
nomena along three major lines: (a) situations with equal force.
desire on the part of the subject to play the By experimentally controlling these two
role of a hypnotized subject (Sarbin, 1950; elements, role-playing and increased motiva-
White, 1941), (b) increase in suggestibility tion, it is possible to investigate their suf-
(Hull, 1933), and (c] a further less well-defined ficiency for explaining all aspects of the trance
category that is called by White "an altered state and the extent to which still other con-
state of consciousness" and by others, "corti- cepts, such as an altered state of consciousness,
cal inhibition" (Pavlov, 1923), dissociation are required.
(Weitzenhoffer, 1953), etc. depending on their The third aspect of hypnosis, the altered
theoretical orientations. state of consciousness, presents the greatest
The heuristic model of hypnosis that under- problem for investigation, yet it has been felt
lies this paper incorporates these three aspects. necessary to include the concept in all attempts
One of the hypotheses of the paper holds that to explain the phenomenon. This residual as-
much hypnotic behavior results from the pect, which remains after increased motivation
subject's conception of the role of the hypnotic and role-playing are accounted for, may be
subject as determined by past experience and regarded as the "essence" of hypnosis, with
learning, and by explicit and implicit cues pro- reference to which increased motivation and
vided by the hypnotist and the situation. These role-playing appear as artifacts.
varied role conceptions appear to be the source Three related experiments are presented.
of most if not all of the inconstant patterns of The first is devoted to the effects of "role-play
artifact" on the manifestations of hypnosis
behavior seen in the hypnotic state.
commonly seen clinically. It demonstrates
An increase in suggestibility may be viewed that much of the complex phenomenon which
as an increase in motivation to conform to the we call hypnosis may result from (a) the
wishes of the hypnotist. A second basic hy- subject's preconceptions of what hypnosis is,
pothesis to be tested thus proposes that, (b) implicit cues by the hypnotist as to what
although increased motivation may be a con- he thinks it should be, and (c) the particular
stant accompaniment of the trance state, techniques of trance induction. The second
such increased motivation is by no means a experiment demonstrates an aspect of role-
1 play artifact that is introduced by a concrete
This investigation was supported in part by a post-
doctoral research fellowship from the Public Health experimental situation. It investigates cues
Service. that an experimental design may give about
I would like to thank Robert W. White for his en- the role the subject is expected to play and
couragement and guidance and Milton Greenblatt demonstrates that in some instances an ex-
for his support and his cooperation in the use of the perimental result may more reasonably be
facilities of the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.
I am greatly indebted to Donald O'Connell, for his accounted for on this basis than by invoking
help in the pilot studies, and Ronald Shor and Theodore "trance effects." The third experiment is con-
X. Barber for their invaluable assistance in running the cerned with the effect of "motivation artifact"
first two experiments reported here. In addition, thanks upon performance. It examines the claims of
are due Peter D. Watson for his aid in preparing and
editing the manuscript. Finally, I would like to express increased physical capacity in hypnosis and
my appreciation to Abraham H. Maslow of Brandeis tests the hypothesis that this may be ac-
University, Philip Nogee of Boston University, William counted for by increased motivation.
McGill of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Table 1 gives a schematic representation
E. G. Boring and Ray Hyrnan of Harvard University,
and the respective departments of psychology for of the author's working model of the hypnotic
making their classes available to me. state.
277
278 MARTIN T. ORNE

TABLE 1
SCHEMATIC REPRESENTATION OF A WORKING MODEL OF HYPNOSIS

"Increased Motivation • Essence of
Situation of trance induction '£$£%$£ £, + Artifact" (conative ""* Trance
component)

Creation of situation to maximize:
1. Desirability of entering trance Expectations of 5s The sources of increased Uncertain
2. Expectation that trance can be a. preconceptions motivation are not de-
achieved b. cues from trance in- nned
3. Respect and trust for operator duction They represent a major
4. Restriction of extraneous stimuli Cues from Experimenter area of future inquiry
5. Focusing of attention a. explicit Probably some aspects will
b. implicit prove to be a component
Cues from experimental of "essence"
situation
All techniques have the further quali-
ties of:
1. Concrete suggestions in vivid
simple language
2. "Suggestions" utilizing the per-
ception of subjective events as
their basis
3. Suggestions of gradually increas-
ing difficulty to insure successful
responses
4. Praising (rewarding) explicitly or
implicitly the subject's positive
responses

PRECONCEPTIONS OF HYPNOSIS AND manifestations that an S shows on entering
THEIR EFFECT ON TRANCE hypnosis? In terms of the model presented here,
MANIFESTATIONS the answer may lie in role-play artifact, From
this viewpoint, 5s who enter trance are mo-
The states induced by Mesmer (Binet &
tivated to play the role of the hypnotized 5,
Fere, 1888; Boring, 1950), Coue (1922, p. 83), and the precise manifestations of this role
Wells (1923), Schilder (1956), and others are depend upon their perception of what it en-
all hypnosis, yet their descriptions of how tails. Behavior of the 5 in trance is then de-
hypnosis characteristically manifests itself are termined by the S's preconceptions about how
very different. The common characteristics a hypnotic S acts, and the cues, both explicit
of these varied states that bring them all under and implicit, as to the desired behavior which
the heading of "hypnosis" would appear to the hypnotist communicates in the process of
include: posthypnotic amnesia, apparent in- trance induction.
ability to use a given motor system when a To test this hypothesis that conceptions
functional paralysis is suggested, various sen- about hypnosis held prior to entering the
sory illusions including positive and negative hypnotic state affect an S's trance behavior,
hallucinations of all sensory modalities, ap- a pilot study and a main experiment were
parent memory disturbances or improvements conducted in which volunteer 5s were given
as well as reported increased control over auto- the erroneous prior impression that catalepsy
nomic nervous system functions. Whether all of the dominant hand (with the other hand
of these phenomena are necessarily part of flaccid) is a typical feature of hypnosis. This
hypnotic behavior will be discussed below. behavioral item was chosen because it satisfied
In any event, hypnosis is evidently charac- a number of criteria. It is sufficiently unusual
terized by the ability of the subject (S) in to have been reported had it ever been ob-
this special state to experience changes that served as a spontaneous characteristic of hypno-
are not normally found in response to similar sis ; it is easily recognizable so that judgments
cues in everyday life. of its presence or absence are unequivocal;
What, then, determines the particular trance and it is sufficiently plausible as a charac-
THE NATURE OF HYPNOSIS 279

teristic associated with hypnosis that it would handed. Of the four Harvard students who
be accepted as such by the S population. were hypnotized immediately after observing
Especial care was exercised to eliminate three demonstration 5s with catalepsy of the
possible effects of the bias of the experimenter dominant hand, three manifested catalepsy
by making it impossible for him to influence the of the dominant hand and one, catalepsy of
results, It is easy to suggest to an 5 by im- both hands. All 5s were right-handed.
plicit cues that he manifest catalepsy as part
of the hypnotic state. Perhaps catalepsy of Main Study
one hand might also be suggested during in- In order to make it impossible for the ex-
duction of the trance. Selection of catalepsy perimenter to communicate his desire that
of the dominant hand avoids this possibility, the 5 demonstrate unilateral catalepsy, the
as the experimenter had no way of knowing main study was performed in a rigorous
whether the subject was right- or left-handed "blind" fashion. In this instance matched
until he asked for this information after the classes were used, each of which had received
data on catalepsy had been gathered. a lecture and demonstration of hypnosis.
In one class the hypnotic demonstration in-
Pilot Study cluded catalepsy of the dominant hand, while
An introductory psychology class at the in the other this was omitted. The 5s were
Massachusetts Institute of Technology was then tested in small groups, with members
given a lecture on hypnosis. Prior to the of both groups mixed randomly. The experi-
lecture, and without the knowledge of the menter thus had no way of knowing which
class, two students had been hypnotized and subjects should manifest one-handed catalepsy.
given the posthypnotic suggestion that upon
Procedure
entering the trance subsequently, they would
manifest catalepsy of one hand, the dominant The procedure of the pilot experiment was
hand. One student was right-handed and one repeated with members of the introductory
student was left-handed. The class was then psychology course at Boston University with
given a 25-minute lecture on the nature of the the inclusion of the control group. Instead
hypnotic state, at which point volunteers of asking for volunteers, three 5s were em-
were called for in order to demonstrate the ployed who were introduced to the class as
phenomenon. Of the 11 students who volun- having taken part in prior research. The same
teered, the two who had been previously three 5s were used for both sections of the
hypnotized were selected in a fashion that course, to which essentially identical lectures
appeared random. They were again placed in were given. The demonstrations differed only
trance, in a manner that appeared to be the in that in one section the three 5s manifested
initial trance induction, and simple trance unilateral catalepsy, while in the other section
phenomena were demonstrated, including one- this was not demonstrated. No students from
handed catalepsy. Attention was called to the either class were hypnotized at that time.
fact that the right-handed student had cata- Volunteers were solicited and subsequently
lepsy of the right hand, and the left-handed tested in such a way that the experimenter
student had catalepsy of the left hand. Im- had no way of telling which lecture they had
mediately following this procedure, three more attended until after the completion of the
students from the same group of volunteers, experiment.2 All but two 5s were tested by an
who had not been hypnotized previously, were experimenter who was not at the lectures.
placed in trance. Trance depth was rated by the experimenter
A class of psychology students at Harvard and an observer. The degree of consensus was
were subsequently given the same kind of a high and in no case was there more than a one
lecture and demonstration, following which point difference. In case of disagreement both
four Ss were hypnotized and tested for one- ratings are recorded. The ratings are rough
handed catalepsy. clinical estimates based on the phenomena
All three of the M.I.T. experimental 5s 2
One of these Ss was tested the evening of the lec-
gave good trance results, and all showed cata- ture. The remaining Ss were tested approximately one
lepsy of the dominant hand. One S was left- month after the lecture.
280 MARTIN T. ORNE
TABLE 2 of both hands. Table 2 gives a summary of
TEANCE BEHAVIOR IN THE EXPERIMENTAL AND the findings.
CONTROL GROUPS
Discussion
Catalepsy The item of behavior that was used is known
Subject Trance Dominant
Depth Hand not to occur spontaneously; its occurrence is
R. L.
significant if it is found at all. The results of
Experimental group the pilot and main experiments may be re-
1. M.S. + 0 4 R. garded as confirming the hypothesis that
2. M.K. + + 4 R. trance behavior is affected by the individual's
3. R.L. + 0 4 R.
4. C.L. 0 0 2 R. conceptions about hypnosis held prior to enter-
5. S.T. 0 0 3 R. ing the hypnotic state.
6. A.L. 0 +0 3 L. It would not be expected that all 5s would
7. O.B. + 3 R.
8. S.R. + + 5 R. show this behavior. No truly naive 5 popula-
9. B.T. + 0 4 R.».b tion is available, and many of the 5s had ob-
Control group
1. D.L. 0 0 4 R. served hypnosis prior to the demonstration.
2. W.O. 0 0 4 R. Some 5s should therefore have sufficient prior
3. M.R. + + 3 R. information to have formed very strong con-
4. L.P. + + 3 L.
ceptions unlikely to be altered by the rela-
5. B.Z. 0 0 3 R.
6. L.V. 0 0 4-5 R. tively mild attempt to manipulate these ideas
7. M.O. + + 3 R. experimentally.
8. A.T. 0 0 3 L.b
9. W.M. 0 0 1-2 R. That three of the nine 5s in the control
B group spontaneously manifested catalepsy of
This S was tested the evening of the lecture when
he appeared unannounced along with a group of 5s both hands is readily understood in view of the
who had previously volunteered. The experimenter did repeated testing for catalepsy, which they ap-
not know which class the S had attended until after parently interpreted as a cue to manifest the
theb experiment was over.
5s tested by author. I was not aware of which class behavior. None of the control 5s, it should be
these 5s had attended, in fact, I did not know until emphasized, manifested unilateral catalepsy,
subsequently that they had been at the lectures. indicating that no such desire was communi-
cated by the hypnotist to the 5.
which could be elicited from the 5s. A rating This study has demonstrated for a single
of 1 indicated no response; 2 implied eye- behavior item that trance behavior is affected
closure and only partial hand levitation by individual preconceptions about hypnosis.
without a positive response to "challenge" The results can be extrapolated to account for
suggestions, i.e., you cannot open your eyes, the apparently fixed qualities, not stemming
or you cannot bend your elbow; 3 referred to from cues given by the hypnotist, that are
positive responses to all challenge suggestions reported in practically all present-day de-
but inability to achieve hallucinations or scriptions of hypnosis.
posthypnotic phenomena; 4 was used to de- Thanks to the media of mass communica-
note those 5s who responded to suggested tion, it is relatively easy for a particular view
hallucinations, gave simple posthypnotic of hypnosis to have gained wide currency and
phenomena, but did not achieve a good post- thus be found as a part of the general knowl-
hypnotic amnesia; 5 referred to "somnambu- edge in which the 5s share. Such novels as
lists" who could achieve all hypnotic phe- Mario and the Magician (Mann, 1931) and
nomena easily, including complete amnesia. Trilby (DuMaurier, 1895) have had very wide
audiences and are known indirectly to almost
Results all members of our culture. Uncounted articles
Of the nine 5s in the experimental group, and features about hypnosis have been dis-
five showed catalepsy of the dominant hand. seminated to all levels of society. The picture
Two showed catalepsy of both hands, and of hypnosis that emerges in all of these is that
two showed no catalepsy. None of the control of a passive 5 in a sleeplike state who has
group showed catalepsy of the dominant hand, amnesia for the events occurring in hypnosis,
but three out of the nine 5s showed catalepsy and responds only to the hypnotist's sugges-
THE NATURE OF HYPNOSIS 281
tions. According to Dorcus, Brintmall, and doing, furthering "progress in science" may
Case (1941), 79% of the student sample that well be equated with "making the experiment
they studied accepted hypnosis as possible, work" or, in more sophisticated terms, having
71% had discussed hypnosis with someone, his individual performance support the hy-
54% had read about it, and 29% had actually pothesis of the experiment. Thus, when the
seen a hypnotic trance at one time during 5 is motivated to comply with the wishes of the
their lives, experimenter, his responses are readily in-
In the context of group tests for "suggesti- fluenced by what he perceives to be the basic
bility," in order to screen 5s, the investigators hypothesis of the experiment.
asked 57 students in elementary psychology Typically, the experimenter's hypotheses
courses: "Have you observed any other dem- are not stated explicitly to the 5 because of
onstrations of hypnosis; if so, where and the very considerations just mentioned. But
when?" and "What have you read about hyp- unstated hypotheses may be conveyed im-
nosis?" Only 12 5s denied both having read plicitly by the experimental procedure itself,
about hypnosis and having had any chance through what will be called here the "demand
to see the phenomenon previously; 18 5s had characteristics of the experimental situation."
seen hypnosis demonstrated in some form, It should be understood that a person may
and 23 had somehow read about it. fail to perceive fairly clear demand charac-
In the context of the questionnaires used teristics either because of lack of past experi-
in the above studies, "having read about ence or because of an inability to generalize
hypnosis" meant specific reading in the from it.
scientific sense. In questioning well over 200 Demand characteristics thus conceived ap-
student 5s about their knowledge of hypnosis, pear central to much psychological work.
the author failed to find one who did not have Experimental situations vary widely in the
a very clear-cut notion about the nature of extent to which they convey the purpose and
hypnosis, and who could not define the trance the hypothesis of the experimenter. If an S
in a fashion similar to that found in dic- can describe a hypothesis being tested, of which
tionaries. Furthermore, they had all read he is supposedly unaware, the experimental
something about hypnosis and could recall arrangements have significant demand charac-
having done so, once it was made clear that teristics. The obvious way to test for their
this included nonscientific sources. The normal presence is to ask the 5 about his perception
5 population thus knows the meaning of the of the experiment and its purpose. Usually,
word hypnosis prior to taking part in any however, 5s are reticent about revealing
study. their notions about the purpose of the experi-
ment.
CUES IMPLICIT IN AN EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN It is reasonable to assume that the student
An 5 participating in an experiment is aware 5 population has some sophistication in regard
that his responses are being recorded for to the philosophy of experimentation. They
specific purposes—that there is a raison d'etre are aware that if an 5 is not told the purpose
for the experiment—and he frequently has of an experiment he ought to remain naive in
some idea of what these purposes are. How this regard to it, lest his knowledge influence his
knowledge affects the 5's behavior depends performance. At the same time they under-
upon the motivational structure that he brings stand the necessity for an experimental 5 to
to the experimental situation. The participa- be "honest" in his response to the experimental
tion of the college student volunteer in psycho- situation and to questions about it. For these
logical studies is usually due, not to the rela- reasons, 5s are motivated to avoid recognizing
tively low monetary remuneration but, rather, explicitly the purpose of an experiment even
to his interest in taking part in scientific re- though it may be clearly communicated by its
search, which in turn is likely to be based, at design. Thus, the response to the direct ques-
least in. part, on a desire to further "progress tion "What do you think this is about?" tends
in science" by his participation. Since the ex- to be "I don't know." The 5's behavior may
perimenter is perceived as knowing what he is nevertheless clearly betray an implicit aware-
282 MARTIN T. OENE

ness of the relevant factors, and he may even stimulus-situation," Ashley, Harper, and
verbalize them after the experiment in a "bull Runyon (1951) argue it would be necessary to
session" with his friends. We deal, therefore, have a special situation. They state: "The
with "knowledge" not readily available to Bruner and Goodman type of experiment
consciousness which must be elicited in a would do this if the rich group and the pool-
clinical fashion. As in the case of other such group were identical in every other respect—
material, the boundaries of consciousness may in terms of their experience with money, their
be expected to vary with the situation. When, life histories, their physiological conditions,
however, a clinical approach is used in an in short, if the sole difference between the
inquiry and the 5 is pressed, one may be two groups was that only one group had the
amazed—or horrified—by the ^'s ability to psychological organization . . . of rich people
formulate one's hypotheses in a lucid and at and the other group the psychological organi-
times highly sophisticated fashion. Unfortu- zation of poor people." They go on to say:
nately, the so-called inquiry is usually a most "Actually for our problem, it is irrelevant
casual procedure. whether the 5s are economically as well as
While the demand characteristics of experi- psychologically rich or poor, or whether they
mental situations probably have wider sig- are only psychologically rich or poor. In either
nificance than is generally recognized, they case, a difference in performance of the two
are particularly significant for hypnotic ex- groups would reflect a difference in the per-
periments. Hypnotic Ss tend to be particularly ception due to the psychological organization
cooperative, almost eager participants. Fur- of the perceivers" (p. 565).
thermore, one of the assumptions of the present In order to obtain two groups identical in
research for which there is extensive observa- every respect but for their perception of their
tional support is that the hypnotic state as economic status, they used hypnosis. While
such increases the motivation of the 5 to the S was in trance, artificial life histories were
comply with the wishes ("suggestions")— induced—one rich and one poor—each fol-
both explicit and implicit—of the experi- lowed by induced amnesia. In essence, then,
menter. The extent to which compliance can they view the situation as if two identically
take place depends upon the demand charac- matched groups were available—one rich,
teristics in the experimental situation. The and one poor. It is assumed that because
usual problem of demand characteristics amnesia was induced for the preceding state,
(difficult enough to control in other fields of the S is again naive and that the only difference
psychology because of the unconscious co- is in respect to his perceived economic status.
operation between 5 and experimenter) is thus The final sentences of their rationale are
compounded in hypnotic research. particularly interesting. "Even though we do
In order to investigate the influence of the not know fully what happens when we hyp-
demand characteristics of an experimental notize a person, if we do hypnotize him and
procedure, a recent study (Ashley, Harper, & tell him he is rich and he behaves in one way
Runyon, 1951) was repeated with minor vari- in the coin-matching situation, and then, a
ations to be described. This experiment at- few moments later, we tell him he is now poor
tempts to demonstrate a further dimension and he behaves in another way, we can con-
of the Bruner-Goodman (1947) effect, which clude that the observed difference is due to a
has been the center of major controversy in change in his psychological organization"
recent years. Bruner and Goodman's basic (Ashley et al., 1951, p. 565).3 The authors in
tenet was that the perceiver's values alter his fact conclude from their data that the psycho-
perception. There is no question that the per-
logical organization (including the wants,
ceiver's previous experiences may affect per-
needs, interests, attitudes, and values) of the
ception. A dispute, however, centers about
whether values as such are significant variables person contributes to the figural organizations
affecting perception. of his perceptions.
In order to show "clearly and unequivocally It is unquestionably true that observed dif-
that the perceiver can contribute to the or- ferences in coin-size judgments are due to
3
ganization of his perception in a structured Italics mine.
THE NATURE OF HYPNOSIS 283

changes in psychological organization. The out error "I am conducting an experiment
question with which we are concerned, how- which will assess my psychological capacities."
ever, is whether these changes in psychological Another was able to give the square root of
organization relate to the actual experiencing four, and so on. Furthermore, if we test for
of the feelings of being rich or poor, or whether amnesia in a more subtle fashion, it is easy to
they reflect the demand characteristics of the demonstrate in the wake state or in trance that
experimental procedure. The hypothesis to no true ablation of the material for which the
be tested is that the demand characteristics of S has amnesia exists, despite his subjective
the experiment are largely responsible for the feeling of being unable to remember.
results obtained by Ashley et al. (1951). The fallacy of the assumption that knowl-
Disregarding the theoretical framework of edge for which the 5 has amnesia does not
the study, this is what actually took place: influence his behavior can be seen in any
An individual was told—in hypnosis-—that posthypnotic suggestion. The S firmly denies
he was very poor, then—again with amnesia recall yet assiduously persists in the suggested
in hypnosis—that he was very rich and, sub- behavior. The phenomenon is well known in
sequently, with another hypnotically induced response to an explicit cue; it would seem
amnesia, that he was himself. In each of these rather absurd to deny it in response to an
states he was required to make a series of coin- implicit one.
size judgments. The authors' interpretation A pilot study was therefore conducted that
rests largely on the assumption that hypnotic replicated all essential characteristics of the
amnesia is truly the same as not knowing. Ashley, Harper, and Runyon experiment, with
Granted this, one would be justified in ignor- the addition, however, of a careful inquiry
ing the fact that the procedure of coin-size after the completion of the experiment. The
estimation is repeated and that economic procedure was patterned after the inquiries
status is hypnotically induced. However, data commonly performed as part of the Rorschach
are available that lead one to question this test, which seek answers to a series of questions
assumption. without providing the 5 with a cue as to the
One of the few specific experiments dealing answers expected. 1. The subject's perception
with posthypnotic amnesia directly is a study of the experimental task was elicited by a
by Strickler (1929), who compared the re- general question, "What do you think this
learning of nonsense material in the post- experiment was about?" 2. The S's perception
hypnotic state with induced amnesia with the of the purpose of the investigation was elicited
learning time required for the material not by questions such as "What do you think this
previously learned. He concludes that "the experiment is trying to prove or demonstrate?"
posthypnotic amnesia ordinarily met with, 3. S's perception of the experimenter's hypoth-
which appears superficially to be a complete esis was elicited by direct questioning, with
wiping-out of memory, is by no means com- such questions as "What do you think I hope
plete." to find?" 4. The S was also asked about his
Even more relevant are the data obtainable own hypothesis concerning the study—-what
in hypnotic age-regression. Here we are deal- he, on the basis of what he knew about the
ing with an induced amnesia in hypnosis for experiment, would predict the results to be.
what purports to be all material learned after 5. The final question related to his beliefs about
a given age. All studies of hypnotic age- his own performance with the question, "What
regression have shown that some material do you think your experimental behavior
persists no matter how "real" the regression demonstrates?"
appears. The following hypotheses were formulated:
In the investigator's prior work (Orne, 1. The subject in an experiment is usually
1951), it was possible to show that an indi- able to express some demand characteristics
vidual regressed to age six was able to compre- of the procedure, if careful inquiry is conducted
hend English, though he himself pointed out and his initial resistance is penetrated in a
in German that he could not understand it. clinical fashion.
Historically, the S was unable to understand 2. The majority of subjects may perceive
English at age six. Another S could spell with- the same demand characteristics in the experi-
284 MARTIN T. ORNE

ment and these may be the same as the hypoth- was of a very whitish color so that it could
esis being tested, conceivably have been the appropriate metal.
3. These demand characteristics rather than
the experimental variables may be the major Results
determinant of the subject's behavior. The results are summarized in Figure Ib,
a. If the majority of subjects perceive which presents the subjects' average coin-
the same demand characteristics, then subjects size estimates. The data are essentially
who fail to perceive them should not show the identical to those obtained by Ashley, Harper,
behavior characteristic of the group. and Runyon (see Fig. la). The data on the
b. If the demand characteristics are the de- size estimates of "slugs" successively called
terminant of subjects' behavior, it is possible silver, gold, and platinum were also similar
for an experimental design that omits a crucial to those presented by Ashley, Harper, and
aspect of the original independent variable to Runyon in their series using a lead slug. All
elicit similar responses to the extent that the of the four subjects were able to describe cor-
same demand characteristics are present. rectly the purpose of the experiment and the
hypotheses of the investigator who originally
Pilot Study designed the experiment.
The pilot study was designed to test the Discussion
first two hypotheses. The data from the pilot study imply that
the present procedure effectively reproduces
Procedure
that of Ashley, Harper, and Runyon. Both
The Ashley, Harper, and Runyon study was in terms of the quantitative results and the
repeated in all essential details with four under- observed behavior of our S, no significant dif-
graduate 5s, with the addition of appropriate ferences emerge.
inquiry. Equipment employed in the original The only essential difference between these
Bruner-Goodman study (1947) was used for data and those obtained by Ashley, Harper,
making the coin-size estimations. Unlike the and Runyon relates to the inquiry procedure.
procedure of Ashley, Harper, and Runyon, The results confirm the first two hypotheses.
however, the coins were presented on the 5's 1. The S in an experiment is able to express
left palm which he was permitted to hold beside some demand characteristics of the procedure,
the box. He was not permitted to remove the if careful inquiry is done and his initial re-
coin from his palm. sistance is penetrated in a clinical fashion.
All 5s used in this study had demonstrated 2. The majority of 5s may perceive the same
their ability to manifest all of the usual deep demand characteristics of the experiment and
trance phenomena including responsiveness to these may be the same as the hypothesis being
posthypnotic suggestions and the ability to tested. However, the third hypothesis has
experience what appeared to be total amnesia yet to be dealt with.
when this was suggested. It is interesting to note that two of the
The procedure, briefly stated, was as follows: four 5s who were specifically questioned about
After the 5 was placed in trance, amnesia for this point denied vehemently that they were
his own life history was induced. He was then influenced during the experiment by an aware-
given a pseudo-life history which was essen- ness of the experimenter's hypothesis. But the
tially the same as that described by Ashley, 5's verbalization during inquiry cannot be
Harper, and Runyon. The poor state was in- accepted at face value. As long as the 5 recog-
duced first, then the rich state, and finally the nizes and is able to verbalize the demand char-
normal state. The 5 judged coin sizes in all acteristics of the experiment, they may play
three states. The same 5 was run with both a significant role in his experimental behavior,
imagined coins and with real coins presented although to demonstrate that they do so re-
in all three states. Also in all three states, he quires supporting evidence. It is with this
was given brass slugs which were called "lead," further evidence that the main study is con-
"silver," "gold," and "platinum." The brass cerned.
THE NATURE OF HYPNOSIS 285
cm~ cnr
3.0- 3.0-
_P

2.5. 2.5-.
_N
-R

2.0- 2.0-
<

1.5- 1.5-

1.2- 1.2-
la 5+ 104. 25<j 14 5* 104. 254
la. Ashley, Harper, and Runyon data converted to cm Ib. Pilot study data: means of four Ss

2.0-.--

1.5-

1.2-
14 5+ lOi 254 la 5* I0i 254
Ic. Mean performance of "real" 5s (N = 7) Id. Mean performance of "fake" 5s* (AT = 10)
FIG. 1. COMPARISON OP ASHLEY, HARPER, AND RUNYON DATA WITH DATA FROM PRESENT REPLICATIONS
(Legend: [R] = Rich; [P] = Poor; [N] = Normal; [O] = Actual coin size)
* One 5 (B. S.) was highly atypical and therefore excluded. See Fig. 2(b) for his performance.

Main Experiment Another problem is a bias inherent in the
While the data found in the pilot study are inquiry procedure, Some 5s who do not per-
consistent with the hypothesis that the de- ceive the demand characteristics while engaged
mand characteristics of the experimental pro- in the formal experimental procedure may
cedure may determine behavior, they are open perceive them during the inquiry. In such
to several serious objections. a case, and if the demand characteristics rather
The greatest single problem relates to the than the experimental variables determine
technique of inquiry and the interpretation the response, then the inquiry may indicate
of the data obtained in this fashion. It is im- that the S should have responded a certain
portant to have an objective method of rating way when in fact he did not. However, the
how well the S perceives the demand charac- reverse should not occur.
teristics of the experimental situation. The The question still remains as to whether
study was therefore designed so that the S's the S's perception of the demand charac-
inquiry would be rated by independent judges teristics is responsible for his behavior, or
who did not have available to them the S's whether it is due to the operation of the "in-
data, but who would only have the oppor- tended" experimental variables. This question
tunity of reading transcripts of the inquiry. was dealt with by including a control group
286 MARTIN T. ORNE

that could not conceivably be construed as really expecting the 5 to be able to carry out
experiencing a "psychologically rich and poor his task effectively, and the 5 is aware of this.
state." If it could be demonstrated that a Thus, the 5, who is anxious to please the ex-
group of 5s who do not experience the "rich perimenter, is in actuality motivated to give
and poor state" but are exposed to the demand an unsuccessful performance. Furthermore,
characteristics of the procedure also show the since the 5 is aware that the experimenter
data reported, it would be justifiable to at- knows that he is acting, the 5 feels, with good
tribute the results to the demand charac- cause, that it is impossible to deceive the
teristics rather than to a presumed change in hypnotist. There is a marked tendency to
the psychological organization of the individual smile during induction procedure and in re-
because of being "psychologically rich and sponse to suggestions that might be construed
poor." The control group thus permits in- as foolish, as well as to ask "How am I doing?"
ferences without reliance on the inquiry. at intervals. Any suggestions that evoke even
A group of 5s who were not in hypnotic mild discomfort are followed only briefly and
trance. and did not manifest amnesia should half-heartedly.
provide such a control group. They would, Most classical texts and modern authorities
of course, have to go through the same pro- agree that hypnosis cannot be faked easily
cedure as the "real trance" group. Such a group and "if a subject attempts to fake, tests for
of 5s would be asked to "play act" being in anaesthesia will permit ready recognition"
hypnosis and go through the whole procedure (Estabrooks, 1948;LeCron & Bordeaux, 1947,
as if they were real 5s. This group of 5s would p. 103; Mayer, 1951). However, the author
not truly consider themselves as psycho- has, upon two occasions, been taken in by
logically rich or poor. In these 5s no amnesia 5s who had apparently faked their way
could be induced, and their behavior would through the procedure and who subsequently
clearly be that of a group of persons acting disclosed the fact. In discussions with other
under three different sets of instructions—act hypnotists, he found that all who had had
as though you were poor, rich, and yourself. considerable experience could recall similar
This type of procedure is open to an im- instances.4 These experiences are usually ex-
portant objection. Experimenter bias could plained by stating that such 5s must really
play a major role. While the procedure and have been in the trance state or they would
the wording of instructions would be the same, not have been able to act as well as they had,
it would be possible unwittingly to include a a view that is supported by the literature on
variety of cues which could differentially shape hypnosis. The report of the 5 that he has not
the behavior of the two classes of 5s. A blind really been in hypnosis is thus lightly passed
technique is thus necessitated, in which the over, since "subjective reports are really not
experimenter would not know which 5s were reliable." It is the author's opinion that it
"real" and which were "fake." is dangerous to ignore the conviction of the
Such a stratagem presupposes that a "fake" 5, expressed in good faith, that he did not
5 can simulate hypnosis sufficiently well to experience the amnesia or anaesthesia or any
deceive the experimenter. However, there is a other trance phenomena that he appeared to
widely held opinion in the literature that it is have experienced; and that it is indeed pos-
impossible to simulate hypnosis successfully sible to construct a situation that would
(Jenness, 1944; Stokvis, 1955). Cursory at- facilitate the successful "faking" of a hypnotic
tempts by the author to have 5s fake trance trance.
showed that the 5's efforts were half-hearted To do so it is necessary to motivate the 5 to
and obviously transparent. 4
In this respect, it is interesting to note that Pattie
In the usual faking situation, the experi- (1937) was sufficiently concerned with being deceived
menter knows that the 5 is faking, and the 5 by a faking S that he asked each 61 to sign a statement
is aware that the experimenter knows it; the "I, realizing that the experiment performed on me will
usual purpose of this situation is to demon- probably be published in a scientific journal, solemnly
declare that I was not faking or imitating the hypnotic
strate the difficulties of fooling an experienced trance but that I was genuinely hypnotized and do not
hypnotist. Clearly, the experimenter is not remember the events of the experimental periods."
THE NATURE OF HYPNOSIS 287

act the part of a hypnotic 5—not to go into a given no information or cues by his associates
trance—and for him to believe that it is pos- as to which group any 5 might belong. Nor
sible to convince the hypnotist that he really was he informed of the number of real and
is in trance. Accordingly, a situation was set of fake 5s. There were seven real 5s and 11
up in which the 5 knew that the hypnotist fake 5s.
would not know in advance whether or not he
was really in trance. Further, it was so struc- Special Procedure for Faking Subjects
tured that the S would perceive the desire of Prior to the experiment, the faking 5s were
the experimenters for him to do a successful told by an investigator other than the hyp-
job of faking. Finally, the situation was pre- notist:
sented as a challenge that provided ample
motivation for the S to tolerate unpleasant We're doing a study in which we would like you to
take part. You recall some time ago you volunteered as
suggestions or tests.6 a subject for some hypnotic experiments. We would
like you not to go into a hypnotic trance; however, Dr.
Training of Subjects Orne, who will be working with you, will not know
whether you are a real or a fake subject. He will go
College students from Harvard and Brandeis through trance induction with you, and then several
were used as 5s. All 5s had been present during tests and an experiment. We would like you to act as if
a lecture about hypnosis and a demonstration you were entering a trance, but I don't want you to go
into a trance. Your job is to fake the whole thing and
of the phenomenon given by the author in to try to fool Dr. Orne. He knows that I may have some
the context of an introductory psychol- people trying to fake their way through the experiment
ogy course. All 5s were volunteers who but he has no idea who they are. I would like you, as a
agreed to take part in the study at the time special favor, to try to do the best possible job of fooling
him; to really convince him that you are in trance. This
of the lectures. No 5s were paid. All had also is quite difficult but a very important part of the experi-
been tested and rated by investigators other ment. I am trying to find out whether people are capable
than the author for "suggestibility," in at of doing this successfully. One of the tests which he will
least one screening session, All 5s in the real do with you will involve a harmless but somewhat pain-
trance group had further training with the ful electric shock, After the trance part, which you will
have been faking, he will ask you some questions about
author's associates. In order to satisfy criteria it. Again, I don't want you to let on that you have been
for depth of trance, they had to manifest the faking, and I want you to try to answer these questions
ability to respond to all the usual hypnotic sug- as though you had been in hypnosis. Please keep on
gestions with special emphasis on analgesia, playing this part until I give you a signal. After the
signal you can tell him what really happened. The signal
visual hallucinations, negative auditory hallu- will be that I will turn off the light on a box which will
cinations, amnesia induced by suggestion, and be on the table in front of you. I am sure that you will
simple posthypnotic suggestions. be able to do a good job of it.
The fake group of 5s was drawn from the
same population as the others but did not have The 5s usually objected by saying that they
special training in entering trance beyond the did not know how a hypnotized 5 would act.
first screening session. They were all informed They were told that although this feeling was
of their task in the manner described below. understandable, others had been able to carry
The experimental procedure was admin- it off and that besides, they themselves had
istered to all the 5s by the author, and he was seen other 5s go into a hypnotic trance during
a previous demonstration.
5
After the completion of this study a previous refer- The motivation for the 5 to act the role of
ence to the use of a faking subject as a form of control the hypnotized individual is fairly clear. The
was encountered. In an experiment on hypnotic pain author had been presented to the 5s as an
suppression, Dynes (1932) asked a member of the psy-
chology department to talk to Ss privately and have authority in the field of hypnosis and they
them fake a trance the next time. The 5s thought that had been taken into confidence by one of his
he knew nothing of the plan and carried out the request associates in an attempt to fool him. Thus, on
to fake. However, Dynes himself did know and reports the one hand they were contributing to the ad-
no difficulty in distinguishing this state from the real vance of knowledge, on the other, they would
trance, It would have been interesting to know whether
Dynes would have found it quite so easy to distinguish have the pleasurable experience of "putting one
the behavior had he not known in advance. over" on one of their teachers.
288 MARTIN T. ORNE

Experimental Procedure when they felt anxious. Finally, they were
asked whether they thought that they had
At the experimental session the 5 was ex-
given themselves away; if so, when and why.
posed to trance induction. The Erickson hand
levitation technique as described by Wolberg All of these inquiries were completely tape re-
corded and transcribed so that, subsequently,
(1948) was used. After the S appeared to be in
judges could rate what each subject perceived
trance, a series of tests were done such as:
as the hypothesis being tested.
hand clasp, analgesia, negative auditory hallu-
cination, and positive visual hallucination. Results
When these tests had been completed, the S
was told that his name would appear on his 1. Objective Findings-Group Results. Figure
forehead and that he would feel it as though 1 displays a comparison between the present
it were there in Braille. After this suggestion data and those of Ashley, Harper, and Runyon
had been accepted, he was informed that if (Fig. la); in Fig. Ic, the results of the
he would wipe this off he would forget every- hypnotic 5s are averaged in the manner
thing about himself. Once he had accepted the described by Ashley, Harper, and Runyon; in
suggestion of total amnesia, the rich state and Fig. Id, the results of the "fake" 5s are aver-
the poor state was induced in a fashion identi- aged in the same manner. All three graphs
cal to that used by Ashley et al. (1951). The present essentially the same configuration. In
S was then asked to make coin-size judgments all cases the judgments in the poor state are
of a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter, again the largest, judgments in the rich state small-
using the original Bruner-Goodman box. He est, while judgments in the "normal" state
was required to make six coin-size judgments fall between.
of each coin in each state. The final set of judg- 2. Results for Individual Subjects. Figures 2a
ments was made in his normal state, but with and 2b give the results for each "real" or
the suggestion that he had no recollection of "fake" 5. 5s varied widely in their response to
anything that had happened since he entered the experimental task, not all of them yielding
trance. The rich and poor states were random- a configuration that corresponds to the group
ized as well as the order of the coins. A bal- average. While Ashley, Harper, and Runyon
anced design could not be achieved in respect unfortunately do not give their individual
to coin order because of the number of 5s used, results, they report considerable variation.
but it was approximated as far as feasible. The 3. Comparison of Judges' Ratings with Ob-
hypnotist-experimenter did not know the key jective Categorization. Using analysis of vari-
to the order and was merely told in each in- ance for each individual S, it is possible to test
stance which state he was to run first and with statistically whether there are significant differ-
which coin to start. ences between 5's coin-size estimates in any
The procedure, used by Ashley, Harper, and combination of the three states and the direc-
Runyon and in the pilot study, of estimating tion of significant differences. Ignoring the
the size of the lead slug which was called lead, "normal" judgments, the possibilities reduce to
silver, gold, and platinum, was omitted. three categories: no significant differences be-
At the completion of the coin-size judg- tween rich and poor, poor significantly larger
ments, an inquiry was performed as previously than rich, and rich significantly larger than
described. This inquiry was the same for all poor. Each 5's coin-size judgments were classi-
5s. At the completion of the inquiry, both in fied into one of the three categories on the
the hypnotic and wake states, the light of the basis of statistical analysis considering differ-
Bruner-Goodman apparatus was turned off, ences not significant at the .05 level as no
which was the signal for the fake group to tell difference.
what really happened. If the 5s were real, The transcribed postexperimental inquiries
this had no meaning to them, and the experi- were given to two independent judges to rate
ment was completed. Those of the fake group the 5's perception of the hypothesis being
were asked a series of questions as to whether tested at the time of the experiment in terms
or not they had been in trance. They were also of the same three categories. The judges
asked about their performance, why they had had no contact with the 5s or each other.
acted as they did on some points, and if and Table 3 shows a comparison in terms of the
THE NATURE OF HYPNOSIS 289

Seven Real
Subjects
(a)

FIG. 2. GRAPHS or INDIVIDUAL SUBJECTS
(Legend: [ ] = Poor; [ ] = Normal; [ ] = Rich)
TABLE 3 three categories between the ratings of the two
A COMPARISON OF JUDGED AND ACTUAL CATEGORIES judges and the individual's responses. There is
01 RESPONSE
a high degree of correspondence between the
Subject Major Categories judges' ratings and S's performance.
Testing the null hypothesis of no systematic
Jl J2 Actual correspondence between judges' rating and S's
G. B. II II II
F. H. II II I coin-size judgments leads to its rejection for
J.H. II II II each judge (.015, Fisher Exact Test); combin-
A. U. II" I I ing the significance levels of the two judges
R. W. II II II
D. W. II II II leads to an over-all significance of less than .01.
J.Ba. I I I Discussion
P. E. II II II
J.B1. II II II The data obtained from the seven hypno-
J. G. I I I
A. W. II II II tized 5s are essentially identical to the findings
E. S. II II II of Ashley, Harper, and Runyon, and virtually
J.S. II II II
D. T. I II I indistinguishable from the performance of the
A. F. II II II 11 stimulating Ss, These results confirm the
E. K. II II II hypothesis that it is possible for an experi-
B.S. II II II
mental design that omits a crucial aspect
NOTE.—Key to symbols: I. No significant differ- (hypnotic amnesia) of the original dependent
ence_; II, Poor significantly larger than rich; III. Rich variable to elicit similar responses as long as
significantly larger than poor.
Two judges were used (Jl and J2). Note that no S the same demand characteristics are present.
actually belongs in Category III and that neither judge The subjective experience of members of the
placed
a
any S within it. simulating group was radically different from
Judge undecided about I or II here but chose II
as better estimate. that of the 5s in deep trance. The 5s readily
290 MARTIN T. ORNE

described their conscious efforts to "second used, rather, as an example of a study that
guess" what the experimenter would expect of appears methodologically sound, but in which
them if they were actually in hypnosis. The demand characteristics seem to be the major
data obtained from the simulating group are determinant of the 5's performance. The impli-
the result of a concerted effort on the part of cations seem clear: demand characteristics
the 5s to respond in a way identical to hypno- may determine behavior in hypnotic experi-
tized 5s. The subjective experience of the ments. Before an effect can legitimately be
hypnotized group was different. While clinical attributed to hypnosis, it is necessary to
inquiry revealed the 5s' perception of the demonstrate that it is not primarily a function
author's expectations, they denied that these of demand characteristics. Such proof appears
factors had any effect upon their performance. to require the use of blind techniques and ade-
This denial on the part of the hypnotized 5 quate inquiry.
does not, of course, mean that their perception
of the experimental purpose was unimportant. THE INFLUENCE OF MOTIVATION ON
It does mean, however, that they themselves HYPNOTIC BEHAVIOR^
were not aware of its significance. In studying the nature of the hypnotic
An investigation of the demand character- trance, the question arises as to which phe-
istics perceived by each S may account for nomena are primary and consistent compo-
individual results that did not conform to the nents of the trance state and which are sec-
group average, as an examination of the ondary derivatives. Let us postulate that
judges' ratings confirms. It was discovered increased motivation is a constant accompani-
that the inquiry procedure had not been re- ment of the hypnotic state. The present phase
fined sufficiently to permit prediction of the of the research was designed to show that
5s' performance in the "normal" state. How- certain phenomena long viewed as part and
ever, performance in the "rich" and "poor" parcel of the hypnotic state may more par-
states could be predicted with a high degree of simoniously be viewed as derivatives of in-
accuracy from the judges' ratings of the 5's creased motivation, and can be reproduced
perception of the experimental purpose. No 5 pari passu by other motivational techniques
reversed the expected trend by making his that have no direct relationship to hypnosis.
coin-size judgments larger in the rich state For years it has been claimed that there is
than in the poor state. No 5 was rated by an increase in physical capacity during the
either judge as having perceived this to be the trance state. In part this claim has been based
hypothesis of the experiment. Twelve subjects on casual observation, the favorite example
made the coin-size estimates significantly being that of the stage hypnotist who places
larger in the poor state than in the rich state. a subject in deep trance across two chairs and
All 12 5s were rated by both judges as having permits one or more individuals to stand or sit
perceived this to be the author's hypothesis. upon him. This "experiment," with variations,
Five 5s failed to significantly differentiate their is often cited as irrefutable evidence for in-
coin-size judgments between the rich and poor creased physical capacity. Another group of
state. Of these five subjects, four were rated frequently cited observations are those con-
by either one or both judges as having failed cerning the ability of the subject to maintain
to perceive the demand characteristics of the his hand in an outstretched position for ex-
experiment. tended periods of time without evidence of
The inquiry data thus support Hypothesis fatigue. On the basis of this type of data, es-
3a, that if the majority of 5s perceive the same timates of greatly increased physical capacity
demand characteristics, then 5s who fail to have been made (McDougall, 1926; Moll,
perceive these demand characteristics should 1904).
not show the behavior characteristic of the An early study by Nicholson (1920, p. 89)
group. maintained that "during the hypnotic sleep
The present experiments do not bear on the the capacity for work seemed practically end-
validity of the Bruner-Goodman effect. The 6
This experiment was originally reported in German
Ashley, Harper, and Runyon experiment was (Orne, 1954).
THE NATURE OF HYPNOSIS 291

less." Unfortunately, no quantitative data creases, the 5 becomes increasingly disinclined
were given, and the study was poorly con- to comply. Viewed in this context, the reported
trolled. In a meticulous investigation, Williams experimental results do not necessarily imply
(1930) showed no difference between hypnotic that physical capacity is in fact increased in
and wake states in the ability to maintain the trance but, rather, that the trance state in-
arm in an outstretched position. However, this creases performance.
study failed to employ suggestions to the
effect that the arm would not get tired and Procedure
could not drop. In another similar investiga- Nine 5s in deep trance were asked to hold a
tion, using an ergograph and employing ap- kilogram weight at arm's length. This was done
propriate hypnotic suggestions, Williams in such a way as to derive maximal benefit
(1929) found a 12 to 16% increment in the from the peculiar nature of the trance state.
trance. More recently, Roush (1951) showed Thus the S was told to hallucinate a table, and
an increment in performance in hypnosis sig- only after the table was both seen and felt by
nificant at better than the .05 % level using the the S was the suggestion given that the right
arm dynomometer, the hand dynomometer, arm would feel no fatigue and no pain.
and hanging by the hands, as measures of All the standard tests of deep trance were
fatigue. met in each S, A kilogram weight was placed
All the experiments performed by psycholo- in the S's right hand, and the S was instructed
gists in the laboratory have followed orthodox to place it on the imagined table, to continue
scientific methods insofar as a standard set of holding it with his fingers, and under no cir-
instructions was given to the S to hold a cumstances to drop it or his arm. Continuous
weight, pull an ergograph, or perform a similar suggestions were given to the effect that he
task in both the nonhypnotic and hypnotic would be able to hold onto the weight, that his
states. The better experiments used the arm would not get tired, etc., and that he
usual ABBA arrangement to control fatigue or would continue to see the table. The end point
practice effects. Any increment in perform- was when the 51 was no longer able to hold up
ance was denned as an increase in capacity due his arm and began to come out of trance. At
to trance. It is necessary here to question the that point he was reassured, told to drop the
logic on which the interpretation of these re- weight, and deep trance suggestions were again
sults is based. While these experiments un- given. After some minutes, and having made
doubtedly show that instructions given in certain deep trance was again established, the
trance state result in increased performance S was awakened with a carefully induced post-
over that achieved by the same instructions in hypnotic amnesia. The S was not told the
the wake state, they do not necessarily show length of his performance.7 For the second
an increase in capacity. Alternatively, the S part of the experiment, which was done within
may be more willing to exert himself while in half an hour of the first, the S, not now under
hypnosis. The governing factor could be the hypnosis, was instructed as follows:
increase in the 6"s motivation to comply with
the experimenter's request rather than an in- This is a most important part of our experiment. It
is very important for us to know your endurance and
creased capacity to comply. The instructions,
7
while identical in wording, may be experienced In the preceding section it was pointed out that the
as quite different by the S in hypnosis and the posthypnotic amnesia induced in hypnosis is not tanta-
mount to an ablation of memory. One may be justified
waking state. The request to hold a weight at in assuming that the Ss do not know their hypnotic
arm's length, given in trance, may be a highly performance, not because of the amnesia but, rather,
motivating cue or "suggestion," especially if because they were never informed of the length of time
the S is told that he is to feel very powerful they held the weight in hypnosis. A common belief that
the S in hypnosis has a perfect sense of time would lead
and not fatigued. The identically worded re- to the conclusion that this is not an adequate safeguard.
quest in the wake state is perceived as a request Fortunately, a very thorough study of the time sense
by the experimenter and may be followed if under hypnosis was conducted by Guenther Klaus in
a doctoral dissertation (University of Freiburg, Ger-
good rapport exists between experimenter and many, 1948) which demonstrates unequivocally that
5. However, as the discomfort of the task in- the time sense is not improved by hypnosis.
292 MARTIN T. ORNE
TABLE 4 tired as not to be able to continue for 30 seconds, Ac-
COMPARISON OP SUBJECTS' PERFORMANCE IN HYPNOTIC cordingly, I would like you to give me one-half minute's
AND WAKE STATE notice before you actually drop the weight.
Hypnosis Waking Results
Subject
Table 4 gives the results for the nine 5s
Minutes | Seconds Minutes Seconds
tested. All but one S in the wake state immedi-
1 4 OS 5 33 ately exceeded hypnotic performance. This 5
2» 4 40 6 25 held the weight for 6 min. S sec. in trance, a
3 4 38 8 06 very remarkable performance, but in. a subse-
4 (a)" 6 OS 3 29
(6) 5 SO 10 02 quent wake state dropped the weight after
S 7 07 7 57 only 3^2 min. The exception demonstrates very
6 10 05 16 00 clearly that it is necessary to ego-involve the
7 4 52 5 49
8 S 20 5 32 person in the task and to convince him of his
9° 4 57 2(o) 10 ability to do it. He reported that the seven
5(6) 09
minutes that had been given as an illustration
* This experiment was performed in 1950. In 1957, of "average performance" had seemed so long,
it came to my attention that this 5 feels that he simu- and his hand became so tired after three
lated completely throughout this experiment. At the
time, I was totally unaware of this possibility and the minutes that he felt convinced that he would
5 was
b
in trance by all the usual criteria. be unable to come even close to the average,
S dropped the weight after 3' 29" in the wake so therefore "why bother to try?" The next
state. The next day, care was taken to motivate him
adequately. While the hypnotic performance was only day the S was more carefully motivated and
15" below the previous day, his wake performance now encouraged. He was then able to hold the
exceeded 10'.
0
This S suddenly dropped the weight without warn- weight for over 10 minutes.
ing in the wake state after 2' 10". She was encouraged
and after a 20' time lag again held the weight. This Discussion
time her performance was 5' 09". This performance in
itself is better than her hypnotic performance of 4' 57"; This experiment does not purport to prove
however, it might seem that the waking performance that there is no increase in physical capacity
was better than this, as the 2' 10" period was not given
credit. in the trance state. Because of the motivating
nature of the trance state, and the opera-
physical capacity. What I want you to do is a very tional difficulty in obtaining equal motiva-
difficult task. It does not look difficult but it is. I want tional states, it becomes a technical impossi-
you to hold this kilogram weight at arm's length. Your bility to prove conclusively whether increased
hand will get tired and it will take great effort to do physical capacity is produced or not. The
this. There is a natural tendency to drop the weight if data, however, do show that the usually ob-
your hand gets tired. However, it is vital that we get
your true capacity. Surprisingly enough, our female served increase in performance of trance 5s
subjects have been able to hold the weight for T may be accounted for by motivational differ-
minutes. [The time T given would be his previous per- ence.
formance during hypnosis rounded off to the nearest From a theoretical viewpoint the reinter-
half minute.] Our male subjests have been able to hold
the weight at least T + % minutes. I realize that this pretations to which this study had led seem
is a difficult and painful task. Just to make it interesting most significant. As long as we believe physical
we will try a game. At T minus 2 minutes we will capacity to be in fact increased by the simple
start you off at 5 cents. At T minus one and a half, we expedient of the induced trance, it becomes
will double that and make it 10 cents. At T minus one,
20 cents. At T minus one half, 40 cents. At T, 80 cents necessary to look for the focus of the trance in
and at T plus one half, $1.60. something neurophysiological. If, on the other
hand, we can understand the apparent increase
Then the 5 was told that while we could not in physical capacity observed during the
afford to pay over $1.60, we were, of course, trance state in terms of differences of motiva-
interested in how long he could actually hold tion, we are then led to view hypnosis in
the weight. One final point was explained to psychological terms. It is clear that this study
him: says nothing about why the trance tends to
While we often feel that we are so tired that we can- increase motivation nor does it even prove
not go on, this is not really true. One can rarely be so that this is so. It merely shows that adequate
THE NATURE OF HYPNOSIS 293

motivation in the wake state leads to levels of viewed as characteristic of hypnosis. Some be-
performance equal or better than those found havior shown by both groups may, of course,
in the trance. also be a true characteristic of hypnosis since
An objection that might be raised takes the the fact that someone is able to simulate a given
form of the question as to what would happen type of behavior does not indicate that it is not
if similar motivational techniques were used in genuine in the nonsimulating group. For ex-
the trance state to those in the wake state. ample, that it is fairly easy to simulate the
But this question has little bearing on the compulsive quality of the trance does not imply
essential point. If application of these tech- that this quality is not germane to hypnosis.
niques should produce a trance performance However, assertions that volitional capacities
greater than the wake performance, it could be can be transcended in hypnosis would seem to
interpreted as the result of combined effects require showing that faking 5s cannot produce
of ego-motivation and the postulated in- similar performances.
creased motivation associated with hypnosis. The present use of real and faking 5s in a
If, on the other hand, performance in trance blind design appears to offer several ad-
were not greater it could be argued that the vantages. It permits a rigorous control, in
type of ego-motivation used is not germane terms of behavior, of inquiry procedures de-
to the trance state. signed to elicit demand characteristics of ex-
It may, finally, be argued that the £ in the periments. In the faking situation, the variable
wake state is, in fact, still in hypnosis, since assumed to be the cause of the behavior can
the same experimenter who induced hypnosis be omitted. If such behavior still occurs, it can
conducts the second phase. Perhaps 5s per- then be accounted for adequately by the im-
formed better in the wake state because of the plicit demands of the situation. In this respect
demand characteristics of the experiment, i.e., the technique may have useful application in
my expectation that they should do so! It is not other areas of psychology. With respect to
easy wholly to refute this argument. That all hypnosis itself, the technique permits a rigor-
previous studies are open to the same criticism ous control of experiments that claim to demon-
does not answer the question. The clinical strate transcendence of volitional capacities.
observation that the S does not look, act, or It also helps to eliminate many biases almost
feel in any way the same in the hypnotic part universally present in hypnosis research and
and the waking part appears much more rele- throws into relief certain differences between
vant. Nevertheless, I hope sometime to repeat the "real" and "faking" groups which can
the study with the aid of another hypnotist then be attributed to the hypnotic state.
who believes in "the power of hypnosis" and These differences may be highly germane to
who, therefore, expects S to do better in the essence of hypnosis and seem to have been
hypnosis than in the wake state. If it were pos- obscured by the overwhelmingly impressive
sible for me to enable 5s subsequently to exceed nature of the phenomenon.
their hypnotic performance, it would go far
The Faking Subject
toward removing this objection, of which I
was aware during the collection of data. A The situation of the simulating 5 may be
different way to check the results would com- viewed as one where he can (a) contribute to
pare the performances of "fake" and "real" research by pleasing one experimenter and (i>)
5s, using the strategy developed in the section satisfy different other needs by fooling another
entitled Cues Implicit in an Experimental experimenter. The possibility of simultane-
Design. ously satisfying usually incompatible needs
leads to a state of peculiarly high motivation.
REAL vs. "FAKE" HYPNOTIC SUBJECTS Thus, he is highly motivated to play the role
The "real-fake" technique, a method of of a hypnotized 5 and continues to do so even
enabling 5s to simulate hypnosis, was de- in the face of great discomfort, without, how-
veloped to demonstrate the effect of role-play ever, the alteration of consciousness and the
artifact on trance behavior. Differences be- subjective experience found in hypnosis.
tween the real and faking 5 that cannot be ac- It had been anticipated that there would
counted for by the faking situation may be be differences in the clinical appearance of the
294 MARTIN T. ORNE

two groups of Sst both when going into trance author expected, therefore, to find that reac-
and while in trance. Since the hand levitation tions to pain would distinguish between the
technique (Wolberg, 1948) was used to induce "real" and "fake" groups.
trance, it was expected that the "faking" 5s The technique for producing pain for testing
would lift their hands in a manner clearly indi- hypnotic analgesia which the author had been
cating active volition rather than permitting using routinely involves forcible flexion of the
the hand to rise slowly and gradually in two terminal phalanges of the little finger and
response to a subjective feeling of lightness. pressure of the experimenter's thumbnail on
Similar differences were anticipated in respect the dorsal aspect of the middle of the second
to eye-closure. When the inability to bend the phalanx of the 5's little finger. These tech-
extended right arm was suggested, differences niques failed to discriminate between the two
were expected in the 5's attempts to do so. The groups. The "faking" group reported pain but
S's responses to negative auditory hallucina- indicated that they had had little or no diffi-
tions and positive visual hallucinations, anal- culty in suppressing their reaction.
gesia and anesthesia, pseudo identities in the In order to provide a more painful, though
trance, and amnesia for the trance were all ex- still safe, stimulus a Harvard inductorium was
pected to be means of differentiating the two employed. Standard Grass silver electrodes
groups. The discovery that most of the simulat- were applied to the sides of the index fingers
ing 5s did not differ behaviorally from those in and fixed with adhesive tape. It was found
deep trance came therefore with considerable that the "faking" group flinched less and tol-
surprise. True, it was possible to distinguish erated more pain than the "real" group.
most of the "faking" group from the "real" Actually, almost all of the 5s tolerated the
group, but this discrimination was based on a maximal stimulation that could be applied by
clinical diagnosis with an inordinate amount the inductorium.
of subjective uncertainty and about 20 % error. Another procedure, not particularly painful
With prior knowledge that an 5 is simulating in itself, was designed to maximize anxiety
hypnosis it is very easy for the observer to about pain. Negative auditory hallucinations
discern cues that reveal the "faking" nature were induced and at the same time an anal-
of the "trance" behavior. Without such prior gesia of one hand. A match was then lighted
knowledge, these cues are obscure and judg- close to the 5's ear and held under the third
ments can be made only with a great deal of finger of this extended "pain insensitive"
subjective uncertainty.8 If it seems obvious hand long enough to produce painful heat
to the experimenter that the S is faking, without causing a second degree burn. The ex-
systematic error would again be introduced, perimenter tested the time interval on himself
and could affect the results. In such cases it each time in order to determine what consti-
seems desirable to discard the subject from tuted a safe but painful stimulus. In no in-
the experiment, as was done in two instances stance was an 5 ever subjected to a blistering
in the present study. burn. Again it was found that there were no
noticeable differences between the simulating
Response to Pain in "Fake" and "Real" Subjects group and the deeply hypnotized 5s. How-
Traditionally, hypnotists have viewed the ever, postexperirnental inquiry revealed that
induction of analgesia for highly painful stimuli the simulating group experienced a high level
as the best test for clearly distinguishing of anxiety and some pain during the procedure,
simulating 5s from the 5s in deep trance. The while those in trance felt little or no discomfort.
8
To summarize the results of these informal
The experimenter is currently attempting to study experiments with pain, no clear-cut behavioral
systematically the cues perceived as indicative of faking
by an observer who knows that the S is simulating to differences between "real" and "fake" 5s
see if consistent patterns appear. However, results thus have as yet been found, no matter what type
far indicate that observers who had experience with ob- of stimulus was employed. However, on post-
serving faking Ss, knowing that they were simulating,
did not thereby become more able to discriminate in experimental inquiries a very real difference
the absence of such knowledge. was found in the 5's attitude toward this part
THE NATURE OF HYPNOSIS 295

of the experiment and in his report of sub- uted to the presence or absence of trance were
jective pain, with respect to: (a) congruence, the appropri-
ateness of a response to the apparent level of
Differences Between "Real" and "Fake" Subjects
trance, and (7>) trance logic, the apparently
The faking 5's condition is characterized by simultaneous perception and response to both
the presence of faking behavior and the ab- hallucinations and reality without any appar-
sence of hypnosis. If we wish to regard true ent attempts to satisfy a need for logical con-
hypnotic behavior as the difference between sistency.
what can be observed in faking and real Ss, it The "fake" 5s tended to exhibit behavior
is necessary to take into account the char- that was incongruous with what clinically ap-
acteristics of the faking 5s introduced by the peared to-be the depth of trance. For example,
act of simulating. an 5 who responded very slowly to hand levi-
One of the observed differences is related to tation was given the suggestion that he could
an attempt by the simulating group to avoid hear only my voice. This negative auditory
commitments whenever possible. In some as- hallucination \vas tested by rubbing the thumb
pects, the situation of the simulating group against the first two fingers of the hand close
is analogous to that of the malingerer, although to the 5's ear and asking him "do you hear
the motivation to malinger is different and anything but my voice?" A response congruent
usually stronger. The person who is simulating with the 5's behavior of slow hand levitation
a disease attempts to give the appropriate and in a medium trance would be either no
behavioral and symptomological manifesta- response or a slight nod or shaking of the head.
tions without subjectively experiencing the Frequently, a repetition of the question would
symptoms that would be present with the be required to elicit even a nod of the head. An
actual disease. The real hypnotic group is more immediate and emphatic verbal denial of any
akin to the hysteric who reacts to subjectively auditory perception other than my voice was
real symptoms without organic pathology. considered a typical incongruent response—
Rorschach studies on malingerers in the mili- incongruent both in respect to speed and
tary service (Rosenberg & Feldberg, 1944; modality of response.
Ross, 1944) reveal a typical syndrome. The The most reliable criterion, as it turned out,
most significant aspect is a marked constriction may be termed trance logic.9 It refers to the
of the record, with occasional bizarre responses, ability of the 5 to mix freely his perceptions
a feature that is understandable as an attempt derived from reality with those that stem from
to avoid giving oneself away in the face of an his imagination and are perceived as hallu-
unknown situation while attempting to appear cinations. These perceptions are fused in a
cooperative. Applied to the present situation, manner that ignores everyday logic. A good
these features suggest a tendency for the example of this process is the reaction of many
simulating group to avoid responding when- 5s in hypnosis who see a hallucination of a
ever possible and when forced to respond in an person sitting in a chair and describe it as
unstructured situation to give the safest "This! is very peculiar, I can see Joe sitting in
possible answer. Just this occurred. In the the chair and I can see the chair through him."
replication of the Ashley, Harper, and Runyon This type of reaction, when made spontane-
study, it was observed that the "faking" 5s ously, was absolutely diagnostic of the "real"
would tend to be more hesitant in giving a 5. Unfortunately, it did not occur spontane-
false life history after being told that they were ously in every 5; it was found, however, that
rich or poor. This reluctance cannot be con- "fake" 5s never gave such a response.
sidered a particularly meaningful finding for In order to obtain the same type of data
the theory of hypnosis, since it should rather 9
be attributed to the psychological situation This seems intimately related to primary process
analogous to malingering, and not to the pres- thinking or autistic thinking. To avoid the develop-
mental, pathological, and theoretical implications of
ence or absence of hypnosis. these concepts a new phrase seems preferable to describe
Differences observed which may be attrib- the clinically observable phenomenon.
296 MARTIN T. ORNE

that had proved to be so characteristic of hallucinate, the associate in the chair and
hypnosis, a special situation was devised. therefore, when I asked who the individual be-
Throughout the experiments, one of the co- hind them was, they had to deny seeing him, or
experimenters was in the room with the S and if they saw him, recognizing him. After all,
the author, taking notes. At the beginning of there was only one such individual and I had
the experiment he sat to the side of the S, well already told them that they were supposed to
within his visual field. Once the S's eyes were see him sitting in the chair. This logical con-
closed, the co-experimenter rose very silently clusion determined the response given by
and walked behind the S out of the S's visual simulating Ss; it did not occur to the over-
field. Subsequently, the S was instructed to whelming majority of the "real" Ss who saw
open his eyes while still in deep trance and a two images without any difficulty. This finding
hallucination of the associate sitting in the appears to represent a valid and significant
chair was induced. This hallucination was difference. The "real" 5 responds to a sub-
facilitated by the fact that during the initial jectively real image of the associate in the
part of the experiment, just prior to the S's chair. When asked about an objectively real
closing his eyes, the associate was actually image of the same individual, he is able to
sitting in the chair. After the hallucination ap- perceive this as well. He can respond to per-
peared to be fully accepted by the S, and he ceptions that are subjectively real and deter-
appeared to be responding to the hallucina- mined by the suggested environment, as well
tion as though it were actually the associate, as to his actual perceptions of the real world,
he was instructed to turn around and look without attempting to satisfy a possible need
at the associate now behind him with the ques- to make them logically compatible. The ab-
tion, "Who is that behind you?" Almost in- sence of expression of a need for logical con-
variably the "real" 5 would look at the asso- sistency seems, at this point, to be one of the
ciate, then quickly turn back to look at the major characteristics of hypnosis.
empty chair, and back at the associate. After Because it is my belief that the "essence"
looking back and forth between the hallu- of hypnosis will be found in the subjective
cinated and the "real" associate, the Ss indi- experiences of the 5, I have become increas-
cated verbally that they were perceiving two ingly interested in a series of techniques at-
images of the same person.10 When asked about tempting to obtain data about the actual
this, they tended to give bland responses such feelings and experiences of the S. In the future,
as "mirrors" or a "trick." Though they seemed I intend to develop inquiry procedures that
somewhat confused, they did not become will include "casual conversation" with another
seriously disturbed, 61 who, in reality, is an investigator. It is
The "fake" group, in most cases, either re- hoped to elicit cooperation from the S's
fused to see anyone behind them, or claimed friends. Casual preliminary attempts using
that they could not recognize the person. such procedures indicate that material ob-
Occasionally, they admitted recognizing the tained in this way may be quite illuminating
associate behind them and then claimed that and not accessible to direct inquiry by the
the hallucination had vanished. (This reac- experimenter.
tion, while unusual among the real group, is
occasionally found, especially if the S did not A POINT OP VIEW TOWARD HYPNOSIS
fully accept the initial hallucination.) Of
approximately 30 "faking" Ss, only two acted While much of the research described here
as if they saw two images of the same indi- appears to be explaining away the hypnotic
vidual. The others, when asked during post- phenomenon, the intention is rather to differ-
experimental inquiry about the reason for entiate its valid and significant aspects from
their response, gave a very significant answer. what might be termed artifact. One of the
They stated that I had instructed them to problems inherent in any study of hypnosis
is that of its definition. There is high consensus
10
This situation was originally discussed by Milton of opinion about what constitutes hypnosis in
H. Erickson in a personal communication. terms of a variety of scales. However, the
THE NATURE OP HYPNOSIS 297

essential characteristics have remained ob- and leaves the state in accordance with previ-
scure. A great many investigators have become ously established "rules of the game."
impressed and fascinated by the apparent Another aspect of this altered subjective
transcendence of normal physiological capaci- state is one which the 5 describes as an in-
ties in hypnosis. The present research program ability to resist a cue given by the hypnotist.
has made me increasingly skeptical of the ex- (Interestingly enough, if the 5 before entering
perimental data that purport to support this the trance decides not to follow a specific sugges-
view. However, clinical data obtained both by tion he is able to resist it.)11 The uniformity
others and myself seem to show in a dramatic with which this compulsive quality is reported
way that responses can be evoked in some 5s tends to make us accept it as a characteristic
which they themselves could not perform vol- of hypnosis. However, it will not emerge as a
untarily. Such phenomena seem to be limited difference in behavior between real and faking
to 5s who have a peculiar disposition in this 5s.
direction. For example, authenticated cases of Finally, an important attribute of hypnosis
hypnotically induced blistering have been is a potentiality for the 5 to experience as sub-
achieved only in individuals with previous jectively real suggested alterations in his en-
dermatological histories. vironment that do not conform with reality.
One might hypothesize that the capacity to In trance, the waking distinction between an
produce marked physiological alterations in imagined idea and what is perceived externally
hypnosis is confined to persons who have a to the organism fades, and images may be per-
readiness to somatize in the organ system ceived as originating from external reality.
being investigated, which will usually have Thus, the waking individual, no matter how
been demonstrated by a history of similar hard he tries to imagine that he saw someone
pathology occurring spontaneously. Such find- sitting opposite to him, might at best be able
ings do not preclude the possibility, of course, to evoke some kind of imagery but would al-
that a transcendence of normal volitional ways be aware of the distinction between this
capacities in some areas may eventually be and reality. The 5 in deep hypnosis may well
established in the laboratory as unequivocally be unaware of the distinction, though at some
due to hypnosis. level he will always be able to discriminate.
Aside from the controversial issue of such In sum, the principal features of the hyp-
changes in physiological capacities, it appears notic state are seen as changes in the sub-
that a universal effect of hypnosis on any 5 jective experience which are characterized by
in deep trance can be delineated in terms of (a) discontinuity from normal waking experi-
his subjective experience. Experience, after ence, (J) a compulsion to follow the cues given
all, is not to be taken as an ephemeral or unim- by the hypnotist, (c) a potentiality for experi-
portant aspect of hypnosis but, rather, as encing, as subjectively real, distortions of per-
ception, memory, or feeling based on "sugges-
extremely significant and, to the 5, dramatic
tions" by the hypnotist rather than on ob-
and striking. jective reality, (d) the ability to tolerate
Any 5 who has experienced deep trance will logical inconsistencies that would be disturb-
unhesitatingly describe this state as basically ing to the individual in the wake state.
different from his normal one. He may be
unable to explicate this difference, but he will SUMMARY
invariably be quite definite and certain about
This paper has attempted to delineate some
its presence. Thus, one of the characteristics
aspects of hypnotic phenomena which can be
of hypnosis is that in deep trance the 5 ex-
periences the state as discontinuous from his 11
However, suggestions that are inconsistent with
normal waking experience (though not always the basic "rules of the game" governing the implicit
in the intermediate stages of trance). Hypnotic contract between hypnotist and 5, as seen by the S, are,
as a rule, not followed: e.g., antisocial and self-destruc-
trance differs from pathological states, which tive acts, or any other suggestions running counter to
may also be discontinuous, in that the 5 enters basic ego needs or superego inhibitions.
298 MARTIN T. ORNE

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