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Biol Psychiatry. 1999 Feb 1;45(3):327-33.

Functional neuroanatomy of hypnotic state.

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  • 1Cyclotron Research Center (CRC), University of Li├Ęge, Belgium.



The aim of the present study was to describe the distribution of regional cerebral blood flow during the hypnotic state (HS) in humans, using positron-emission tomography (PET) and statistical parametric mapping.


The hypnotic state relied on revivification of pleasant autobiographical memories and was compared to imaging autobiographical material in "normal alertness." A group of 9 subjects under polygraphic monitoring received six H215O infusions and was scanned in the following order: alert-HS-HS-HS with color hallucination-HS with color hallucination-alert. PET data were analyzed using statistical parametric mapping (SPM95).


The group analysis showed that hypnotic state is related to the activation of a widespread, mainly left-sided, set of cortical areas involving occipital, parietal, precentral, premotor, and ventrolateral prefrontal cortices and a few right-sided regions: occipital and anterior cingulate cortices.


The pattern of activation during hypnotic state differs from those induced in normal subjects by the simple evocation of autobiographical memories. It shares many similarities with mental imagery, from which it differs by the relative deactivation of precuneus.

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