Hypnotic emotional numbing: a study of implicit emotion
Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2005 Jan;53(1):26-36
Bryant RA.
University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. r.bryant@unsw.edu.au

Twenty high hypnotizable and 20 low hypnotizable participants were administered a hypnotic induction and then presented with emotionally distressing and neutral visual images. Half the participants were administered a suggestion for emotional numbing. Participants were then asked to rate the valence of neutral words that were preceded by subliminal presentations of the negative and neutral images. Whereas highs who received the emotional-numbing suggestion reported comparable ratings of the words following presentations of the negative and neutral images, highs in the control condition and lows in both conditions reported more positive ratings of words that were preceded by the negative stimuli. These findings suggest that the subliminally presented negative stimuli led participants to rate the subsequent neutral words more positively. In contrast, hypnotic emotional numbing diminished this pattern in highs. These results are discussed in terms of the influence of hypnotic emotional numbing at a preattentive stage of processing.