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Woody and Bowers’s dissociated-control theory predicts impaired performance on tasks indexing frontally mediated supervisory attentional functions during hypnosis, especially for high susceptibles. This prediction is tested using Stroop task behavioral performance to measure aspects of anterior-mediated supervisory attentional function. All measures of anterior-mediated attentional functions significantly declined during hypnosis. Interactions between susceptibility and hypnosis condition showed specific changes among hypnotized high susceptibles. Total Stroop errors (failures of attentional suppression) were significantly higher in hypnosis for high, but not low, susceptibles. Tellegen’s experiential mental set was highest for hypnotized highs. Use of rehearsal strategy (instrumental set) decreased significantly in hypnosis but more so for highs than lows. Results suggest that “absorption” in hypnosis may be a consequence of dissociated anterior attentional control. It is proposed that dissociated control emerges from the functional disconnection of left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex.

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Journal Article

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