Hypnosis in the right hemisphere

John F. Kihlstrom, Martha L. Glisky, Susan McGovern, Steven Z. Rapcsak, Mark S. Mennemeier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Speculations about the neural substrates of hypnosis have often focused on the right hemisphere (RH), implying that RH damage should impair hypnotic responsiveness more than left-hemisphere (LH) damage. The present study examined the performance of a patient who suffered a stroke destroying most of his LH, on slightly modified versions of two hypnotizability scales. This patient was at least modestly hypnotizable, as indicated in particular by the arm rigidity and age regression items, suggesting that hypnosis can be mediated by the RH alone - provided that the language capacities normally found in the LH remain available. A further study of 16 patients with unilateral strokes of the LH or RH found no substantial differences in hypnotizability between the two groups. Future neuropsychological studies of hypnosis might explore the dorsal/ventral or anterior/posterior dichotomies, with special emphasis on the role of prefrontal cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-399
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Hypnosis
  • Hypnotizability
  • Laterality
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Right hemisphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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