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Enhancing hypnotic suggestibility using noninvasive brain stimulation: Cognitive and neural mechanisms

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Expanding hypnotic suggestibility

Means to increase hypnotic suggestibility may provide individuals with more options in treatment of pain as well as psychological and neurological issues.

Health

Hypnosis is becoming well known as a reliable and effective means for coping with various psychological and neurological issues. It is also being widely used as a treatment for pain. Its limitation is that only by 10-15 % of the population displays hypnotic suggestibility. Therefore, its efficacy can be largely increased if there is an increase in hypnotic suggestibility. An EU-funded project, ENHANCING SUGGESTION (Enhancing hypnotic suggestibility using noninvasive brain stimulation: Cognitive and neural mechanisms), has conducted four experiments on this topic. The aim was to develop methods to increase hypnotic suggestibility and overcome methodological limitations in the current means being used. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a non-invasive, non-painful brain stimulation involving application of low electrical current to the scalp to alter brain, was examined. Additionally, the team investigated if applying tDCS to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex would enhance responsiveness to suggestions for superior attention in medium and highly suggestible individuals. Identifying the neurochemical and cognitive correlates of hypnotic suggestibility through the use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy made up the third and fourth experiments. The studies offer new information on the neural and cognitive mechanisms in variability in hypnotic suggestibility. They provide insights that can be of significant value in research on modification of hypnotic suggestibility in the future.

Keywords

Hypnotic suggestibility, psychological, neurological, brain stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation

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