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Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2009 Jan;57(1):1-32. doi: 10.1080/00207140802463419.

Hypnotic illusions and clinical delusions: a hypnotic paradigm for investigating delusions of misidentification.

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  • 1Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


In 2 experiments, the authors created a hypnotic analogue of delusions of misidentification and explored their impact on autobiographical memory. In Experiment 1, to establish the paradigm, high and low hypnotizable participants were given a suggestion to become someone similar or dissimilar to themselves. In Experiment 2, to further test the paradigm and to examine autobiographical remembering, highs were given a suggestion to become a same-sex sibling, administered 2 challenges to the temporary delusion, and asked to generate autobiographical memories. For high hypnotizable participants, the suggested delusions of misidentification were compelling and resistant to challenge. During these temporary delusions, participants generated specific autobiographical memories that reflected previously experienced events viewed from the perspective of the suggested identity. These findings highlight the instrumental value of hypnosis to the investigation and understanding of delusions and autobiographical memory.

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