Myths and misconceptions about hypnosis and suggestion: Separating fact and fiction

Lynn, S. J.; Kirsch, I.; Terhune, Devin Blair and Green, J.. 2020. Myths and misconceptions about hypnosis and suggestion: Separating fact and fiction. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 34(6), pp. 1253-1264. ISSN 0888-4080 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

We present 21 prominent myths and misconceptions about hypnosis in order to promulgate accurate information and to highlight questions for future research. We argue that these myths and misconceptions have (a) fostered a skewed and stereotyped view of hypnosis among the lay public, (b) discouraged participant involvement in potentially helpful hypnotic interventions, and (c) impeded the exploration and application of hypnosis in scientific and practitioner communities. Myths reviewed span the view that hypnosis produces a trance or special state of consciousness and allied myths on topics related to hypnotic interventions; hypnotic responsiveness and the modification of hypnotic suggestibility; inducing hypnosis; and hypnosis and memory, awareness, and the experience of nonvolition. By demarcating myth from mystery and fact from fiction, and by highlighting what is known as well as what remains to be discovered, the science and practice of hypnosis can be advanced and grounded on a firmer empirical footing.

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hypnosis, hypnotic suggestibility, hypnotizability, myth, suggestion

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28 July 2020Accepted
11 August 2020Published Online
23 November 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

30 Sep 2020 11:16

Last Modified:

11 Aug 2021 01:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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