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Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 7;7(1):4889. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-05195-2.

The Power of mind: Blocking visual perception by hypnosis.

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Institute of Psychology, University of Jena, Jena, Germany.
Institute of Psychology, University of Jena, Jena, Germany.
Institute of Psychology, University of Trier, Trier, Germany.


The present study investigated the effects of suggestion on the processing of visual stimuli. Participants counted rare visual stimuli presented on a screen, once during a hypnosis condition where they were suggested that their vision of the screen is blocked by a virtual wooden board in front of their eyes and once during a control condition without suggestion. In the hypnosis condition, counting performance was about 20% worse than in the control condition. At the same time, the P3b amplitude of the event-related brain potential was about 37% reduced. Smaller P3b amplitudes were significantly associated with deficient counting performance, and this effect was largest in participants who reported the blockade as real. In contrast, earlier brain responses (N1, P2) that reflect basic processing of the visual stimuli were not affected by the suggested blockade. We conclude that the suggestion of the blockade affects later stages of visual perception, leaving early processes intact. This illustrates the impact of suggestions and the power of mind.

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