Slipping into trance

Irving Kirsch, Giuliana Mazzoni, Kathrine Roberts, Zoltan Dienes, Michael N. Hallquist, John Williams, Steven Jay Lynn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


It has been hypothesized that highly hypnotizable people spontaneously slip into trance when given imaginative suggestions without prior induction of hypnosis. We tested this in two studies. In Study 1, we examined state reports from ten highly suggestible students following the administration of a suggestion for altered colour perception. The suggestion was administered twice, once with and once without prior induction of hypnosis. Students reported equivalent perceptual changes with and without the induction of hypnosis, but reported being in a hypnotic state only when a hypnotic induction had been administered. In Study 2, participants received either a hypnotic induction or specific suggestions to not slip into hypnosis. Even under these circumstances, subjective responding was equivalent in both conditions and behavioural responding was only slightly higher in the 'hypnosis' condition. These data disconfirm the slipping-into-hypnosis hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-209
Number of pages8
JournalContemporary Hypnosis
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Clinical Psychology


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