First Advisor

Robert E. Jones

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Hypnotism, Blood flow



Physical Description

1 online resource (38 p.)


Recent research was reviewed which claimed to demonstrate that hypnotic suggestions could be used to control blood flow. Numerous methodological and conceptual problems in these studies were identified and a rigid experimental design with tighter controls was employed to investigate the claimed effects on blood flow. Subjects listened to either a standardized hypnotic induction or a passage of relaxing music. Both groups then listened to the Creative Imagination Scale (Wilson & Barber, 1978) (CIS) which ended with an added item containing suggestions of coolness. Localized skin temperature of the right hand was monitored throughout as an indication of blood flow.

No significant blood flow increases in response to suggestions of warmth nor decreases in response to suggestions of coolness were observed. The experience of suggested events did not differ significantly between those subjects who received the induction and those who received the passage of music.

An increase in blood flow occurred in response to receiving either an induction or music. There was, however, no significant difference between these two groups on the magnitude of the increase. Neither was there a significant difference in this magnitude between high scorers on the CIS and low scorers on the CIS. Results of this and previous studies were discussed within the context of the effects of relaxation as an alternative explanation to the supposed effects of hypnotic suggestion.


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