Seeing is believing: The reality of hypnotic hallucinations

Richard A. Bryant, David Mallard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Two experiments investigated the reality attributed to hypnotic suggestion through subtle projection of a visual image during simultaneous suggestion for a visual hallucination that resembled the projected image. In Experiment 1, high and low hypnotizable participants were administered either a hypnotic induction or wake instructions, given a suggestion to hallucinate a shape, and then the projected image was subsequently introduced. Although highs in both conditions rated the projected image more vividly than lows, highs in the hypnosis (but not wake) condition made comparable reality ratings when the projected image was absent and present. In Experiment 2, high hypnotizable participants were administered a suggestion to see a shape on a wall. For half the participants the suggested image was projected on the wall and then removed, and for half the projection was initially absent and then introduced. Participants who had the projection absent and then present reported comparable reality and vividness ratings when the projection was absent and present. These findings indicate that elevated hypnotizability and hypnosis are associated with attributions of external reality to suggested experiences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-230
Number of pages12
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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