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Cognition. 2017 Nov;168:176-181. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2017.06.026. Epub 2017 Jul 10.

Metacognition of agency is reduced in high hypnotic suggestibility.

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Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom; Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.


A disruption in the sense of agency is the primary phenomenological feature of response to hypnotic suggestions but its cognitive basis remains elusive. Here we tested the proposal that distorted volition during response to suggestions arises from poor metacognition pertaining to the sources of one's control. Highly suggestible and control participants completed a motor task in which performance was reduced through surreptitious manipulations of cursor lag and stimuli speed. Highly suggestible participants did not differ from controls in performance or metacognition of performance, but their sense of agency was less sensitive to cursor lag manipulations, suggesting reduced awareness that their control was being manipulated. These results indicate that highly suggestible individuals have aberrant metacognition of agency and may be a valuable population for studying distortions in the sense of agency.


Agency; Hypnosis; Hypnotizability; Metacognition; Schizotypy; Volition

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