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J Abnorm Psychol. 1993 Feb;102(1):29-38.

Hypnotic analgesia: dissociated experience or dissociated control?

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Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Chicago.


High-hypnotizable subjects (n = 18) were superior to low-hypnotizable subjects (n = 18) in the extent of pain reduction produced by hypnotic analgesia and by a stress-inoculation procedure. However, stress inoculation but not hypnotic analgesia impaired performance on a cognitively demanding task that competed with pain reduction for cognitive resources. This outcome implies that hypnotic analgesia occurs with little or no cognitive effort to reduce pain and challenges the social psychological model of hypnosis. The findings are also inconsistent with the notion of dissociated experience, which proposes that pain and the cognitive efforts to reduce it are cut off from consciousness by an amnesialike barrier. However, the results do support the notion of dissociated control, which proposes that suggestions for hypnotic analgesia directly activate pain reduction and thereby avert the need for cognitive strategies to reduce pain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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