Can unconscious intentions be more effective than conscious intentions? : Test of the role of metacognition in hypnotic response

Palfi, Bence and Parris, Ben and McLatchie, Neil Marvin and Kekecs, Zoltan and Dienes, Zoltan (2021) Can unconscious intentions be more effective than conscious intentions? : Test of the role of metacognition in hypnotic response. Cortex, 135. pp. 219-239. ISSN 0010-9452

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Theories of hypnotic responding can be assigned to two classes based on their reliance on metacognition. While several theories assume that responses to hypnotic suggestions can be implemented without executive intentions , the metacognitive class of theories postulate that the behaviors produced by hypnotic suggestions are intended and the accompanying feeling of involuntariness is only a consequence of strategically not being aware of the intention, proposing that hypnotic responding is the product of a purely metacognitive process. In this project, we seek to disentangle these two classes of theories in a behavioural experiment by testing a central prediction of the simplest metacognitive theory, namely the cold control theory. To this aim, we compared the performance of highly suggestible participants in reducing the Stroop interference effect in a post-hypnotic suggestion condition (word blindness: that words will appear as a meaningless foreign script) and in a volitional condition (asking the participants to imagine the words as a meaningless foreign script) to explore whether the simplest version of the cold control theory, could account for hypnotic phenomena. The results of the pilot experiment revealed that the Stroop interference effect was smaller in the post-hypnotic suggestion condition than in the volition condition calling into question the core idea of the cold control theory as these data suggest that there is more to hypnotic response than a simple change in monitoring of higher order thoughts of intentions. Consequently, the cold control theory may need to be revised to fit the idea that an unconscious intention can be more effective than a conscious one, which indicates that possessing a higher order thought of a mental state can have a causal role on one's first order abilities. Given the importance of the issue, we believe a pre-registered experiment is imperative to draw strong conclusions as it would provide us with more credible evidence.

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Journal Article
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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Cortex. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Cortex, 135, 2021 DOI: 10.1016/j.cortex.2020.11.006
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?? hypnosispost-hypnotic suggestionhigher order thoughtsmetacognitionstroop effectexperimental and cognitive psychologyneuropsychology and physiological psychologycognitive neuroscience ??
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08 Nov 2018 10:06
Last Modified:
19 Jul 2024 00:38