Does hypnotic susceptibility influence information processing speed and motor cortical preparatory activity?

A. J. Srzich, J. Cirillo, J. W. Stinear, J. P. Coxon, A. J.C. McMorland, J. G. Anson

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Responsiveness to suggestions while hypnotized is termed hypnotic susceptibility. An association between reaction time and hypnotic susceptibility has been demonstrated, but whether distinct changes in brain activity accompany this relationship remains unclear. We investigated the effect of hypnotic susceptibility on the speed of information processing and motor cortical preparatory activity. Twenty-one “low” (Low HS ) and fifteen “high” (High HS ) hypnotically susceptible right-handed participants performed precued simple (SRT) and choice (CRT) reaction time key-press tasks under hypnotized and non-hypnotized conditions. Force and surface electromyography data were recorded from left and right index fingers. The contingent negative variation (CNV) was derived from electroencephalography data. Mean reaction time and premotor time was shorter in High HS participants than Low HS participants for both simple and choice reaction time tasks. High HS participants in the hypnotized state performed fewer errors than High HS participants in the non-hypnotized state and Low HS participants in either state for the SRT task. High HS participants made fewer errors overall than Low HS participants for the CRT task. Mean C3/C4 CNV amplitude was larger in High HS than in Low HS participants. Furthermore, larger CNV amplitude was associated with shorter premotor time. Our findings indicate that shorter reaction time in the high hypnotically susceptible group is associated with a greater change in brain activity during motor preparation. One interpretation is that hypnotic susceptibility and neural mechanisms of arousal and selective attention are linked.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Contingent negative variation
  • Hypnosis
  • Hypnotic susceptibility
  • Motor preparation
  • Reaction time

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