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January 2002

Hypnosis and Neuroscience: A Cross Talk Between Clinical and Cognitive Research

Author Affiliations

From the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology, Department of Psychiatry, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59(1):85-90. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.59.1.85

Despite its long use in clinical settings, the checkered reputation of hypnosis has dimmed its promise as a research instrument. Whereas cognitive neuroscience has scantily fostered hypnosis as a manipulation, neuroimaging techniques offer new opportunities to use hypnosis and posthypnotic suggestion as probes into brain mechanisms and, reciprocally, provide a means of studying hypnosis itself. We outline how the hypnotic state can serve as a way to tap neurocognitive questions and how cognitive assays can in turn shed new light on the neural bases of hypnosis. This cross talk should enhance research and clinical applications.

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