Hypnosis and imagination

Terhune, Devin Blair and Oakley, D. A.. 2020. Hypnosis and imagination. In: Anna Abraham, ed. The Cambridge Handbook of the Imagination. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 711-727. ISBN 9781108429245 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Hypnosis involves the use of verbal suggestion to modulate behaviour and experience. Hypnosis and imagination have long been associated and the view that hypnotic suggestion effects changes in experience through imagination is a persistent one. In this review, we first present a brief overview of hypnosis and then turn to its potential relationship to imagery and imagination. We consider whether individual differences in imagination may relate to hypnotic suggestibility and the extent to which imagery is recruited during response to hypnotic suggestions in psychological and neuroimaging studies. Finally, we briefly consider the roles of imagery and suggestion in clinical applications of hypnosis. We conclude that whilst hypnotic suggestibility may relate to variability in imagination, hypnotic suggestion and voluntary forms of imagery are subserved by dissimilar neurocognitive mechanisms.

Item Type:

Book Section

Identification Number (DOI):



Awareness, hypnosis, hypnotic suggestibility, hypnotisability, imagery, imagination, suggestion

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



6 January 2020Accepted
May 2020Published

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Date Deposited:

09 Oct 2020 14:30

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 17:14



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