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February 1964

Toward a Theory of "Hypnotic" Behavior: An Experimental Study of "Hypnotic Time Distortion"

Author Affiliations

From the Medfield Foundation (Dr. Barber and Mr. Calverley); and the Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine (Dr. Barber).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;10(2):209-216. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720200105016

Cooper and Erickson17 suggested to selected "deep trance" subjects that a brief interval would seem as if it were a long period of time. The subjects agreed that time seemed to go slowly and that seconds seemed like minutes or hours. Such apparent verbal agreement with the suggestions of the hypnotist is not surprising; it is a relatively commonplace occurrence in hypnotic experiments. Cooper and Erickson maintained, however, that the subjects in these experiments did not merely agree verbally with the experimenter but "actually experienced" a brief interval as an extended period of time. In support of this contention they presented a series of studies in which "deeply hypnotized" subjects were told to perform various mental activities with the suggestion that seconds would seem to be minutes or hours. One subject testified that during an allotted one-second interval he saw a basketball game from beginning

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