Apperception In The State Of Deep Hypnosis And In The State Of Relaxation

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Counseling Psychology


The utilization of hypnosis has had a long and fascinating history. Recently, there has been an upsurge of interest in both clinical and experimental hypnosis. Many competing theoretical positions have been advanced to explain this phenomenon.The most significant support has been directed toward the state theory which describes hypnosis as an altered state of focused attention. The primary purpose of this study was to investigate whether individuals experiencing deep hypnosis apperceive reality differently than individuals experiencing relaxation. It was hypothesized that support for the altered state hypothesis would be generated. A further purpose was to explore the relationship between apperception and the willingness to imagine and the relationship between subjective trance estimates and objective test scores of hypnotizability.Fifty-seven subjects were selected from 177 undergraduates screened for their responsiveness to hypnosis. Forty-one subjects completed the study. High and low susceptible subjects, respectively, were randomly assigned to either hypnosis or relaxation training. Training included two, one hour sessions of either hypnosis or relaxation. At the conclusion of their training, subjects' apperceptive response to the experimental question was ascertained. Subjects were queried as to the placement of an imagined three-by-four foot picture of a basket of flowers. Further variables included scores on the test of imagination, self-report scores of hypnotic depth and objective scores from the hypnosis training scales. Hypnosis subjects also responded to a post-experimental inquiry.Results. The main hypothesis, that high susceptible subjects trained in hypnosis would apperceive reality differently than all comparative groups, was not supported. Also, subjects' willingness to imagine was not significantly related to their apperceptive responses. A significant relationship was found between subjects' self-report scores of hypnotic depth and their scores on the hypnosis training scales.Conclusions. (1) The altered state theory of hypnosis is not supported. (2) One's willingness to imagine does not appear related to one's apperceptive experience. (3) In general, one's subjective estimate of trance depth is strongly related to objective scores of hypnotizability.


Psychology, Clinical

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text