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Suggested visual hallucination without hypnosis enhances activity in visual areas of the brain

McGeown, William J.; Venneri, Annalena; Kirsch, Irving; Nocetti, Luca; Roberts, Kathrine; Foan, Lisa; Mazzoni, Giuliana


William J. McGeown

Annalena Venneri

Irving Kirsch

Luca Nocetti

Kathrine Roberts

Lisa Foan

Giuliana Mazzoni


This functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study investigated high and low suggestible people responding to two visual hallucination suggestions with and without a hypnotic induction. Participants in the study were asked to see color while looking at a grey image, and to see shades of grey while looking at a color image. High suggestible participants reported successful alterations in color perception in both tasks, both in and out of hypnosis, and showed a small benefit if hypnosis was induced. Low suggestible people could not perform the tasks successfully with or without the hypnotic induction. The fMRI results supported the self report data, and changes in brain activity were found in a number of visual areas. The results indicate that a hypnotic induction, although having the potential to enhance the ability of high suggestible people, is not necessary for the effective alteration of color perception by suggestion.


McGeown, W. J., Venneri, A., Kirsch, I., Nocetti, L., Roberts, K., Foan, L., & Mazzoni, G. (2012). Suggested visual hallucination without hypnosis enhances activity in visual areas of the brain. Consciousness and cognition, 21(1), 100-116.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 31, 2012
Publication Date Mar 1, 2012
Print ISSN 1053-8100
Electronic ISSN 1090-2376
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 1
Pages 100-116
Keywords Suggestibility; Hypnosis; Color; Perception; Brain imaging
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