Dissociative tendencies and individual differences in high hypnotic suggestibility.
Terhune DB., Cardeña E., Lindgren M.
INTRODUCTION: Inconsistencies in the relationship between dissociation and hypnosis may result from heterogeneity among highly suggestible individuals, in particular the existence of distinct highly suggestible subtypes that are of relevance to models of psychopathology and the consequences of trauma. This study contrasted highly suggestible subtypes high or low in dissociation on measures of hypnotic responding, cognitive functioning, and psychopathology. METHODS: Twenty-one low suggestible (LS), 19 low dissociative highly suggestible (LDHS), and 11 high dissociative highly suggestible (HDHS) participants were administered hypnotic suggestibility scales and completed measures of free recall, working memory capacity, imagery, fantasy-proneness, psychopathology, and exposure to stressful life events. RESULTS: HDHS participants were more responsive to positive and negative hallucination suggestions and experienced greater involuntariness during hypnotic responding. They also exhibited impaired working memory capacity, elevated pathological fantasy and dissociative symptomatology, and a greater incidence of exposure to stressful life events. In contrast, LDHS participants displayed superior object visual imagery. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide further evidence for two highly suggestible subtypes: a dissociative subtype characterised by deficits in executive functioning and a predisposition to psychopathology, and a subtype that exhibits superior imagery and no observable deficits in functioning.