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(1960). Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. LVIII, 1959: The Nature of Hypnosis. Martin T. Orne. Pp. 277-299.. Psychoanal Q., 29:441.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. LVIII, 1959: The Nature of Hypnosis. Martin T. Orne. Pp. 277-299.

(1960). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 29:441

Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. LVIII, 1959: The Nature of Hypnosis. Martin T. Orne. Pp. 277-299.

The subject's knowledge regarding behavior in hypnosis influences his own hypnotic behavior. Five out of nine subjects, exposed to a demonstration and lecture on hypnosis in which catalepsy of the dominant hand was mentioned as a common feature of trance behavior, exhibited this phenomenon under hypnosis. No subjects in a control group, given a similar lecture and demonstration, but with no mention of catalepsy, showed the phenomenon. Demand characteristics of the experimental procedure—what the subject believes he is supposed to do—may be a significant determinant of his behavior, although that behavior may appear to be the result of an experimental variable. An experiment reported in the literature, which depends on hypnotic amnesia to explain the results, was repeated with the inclusion of a control group. Subjects in the control group simulated hypnosis but were otherwise exposed to the same experiemontal situation as the hypnotic subjects. The behavior of the simulating group was indistinguishable from that of the 'real' group and both were indistinguishable from the results of the original study. In another experiment it was found that motivated subjects in the waking state held a weight at arm's length for a longer period of time than they did while in the hypnotic state. This result casts doubt on the notion that enhanced physical capacity is a primary characteristic of the trance state. Experiments with pain stimuli did not reveal clear-cut behavioral differences between 'real' and 'fake' subjects. The major difference between these subjects appeared to be a tolerance by the 'real' subjects for logical inconsistencies. A subject's report of alterations in his experience is the best confirmation of hypnosis; in the absence of objective indices the existence of trance may be considered a clinical diagnosis.

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Article Citation

(1960). Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. LVIII, 1959. Psychoanal. Q., 29:441

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