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Perspectives |

Hypnosis and Neuroscience:  A Cross Talk Between Clinical and Cognitive Research

Amir Raz, PhD; Theodore Shapiro, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2002;59(1):85-90. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.59.1.85.
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Despite its long use in clinical settings, the checkered reputation of hypnosis has dimmed its promise as a research instrument. Whereas cognitive neuroscience has scantily fostered hypnosis as a manipulation, neuroimaging techniques offer new opportunities to use hypnosis and posthypnotic suggestion as probes into brain mechanisms and, reciprocally, provide a means of studying hypnosis itself. We outline how the hypnotic state can serve as a way to tap neurocognitive questions and how cognitive assays can in turn shed new light on the neural bases of hypnosis. This cross talk should enhance research and clinical applications.

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A sketch of the functional anatomy of the attentional networks. The pulvinar, superior colliculus, superior parietal lobe, and frontal eye fields are often activated in studies of the orienting network. The temporoparietal junction is active when a target occurs at a novel location. The anterior cingulate gyrus is an important part of the executive network. Right frontal and parietal areas are active when people maintain the alert state.

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