Date of Award

1-3-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lynda M. Federoff, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jeff Ditch, B.S.

Third Advisor

John A. Mills, Ph.D., ABPP

Fourth Advisor

Eric Rosenberger, Ph.D.

Abstract

Extensive anecdotal evidence and multiple case studies indicate that the use of hypnosis can help improve athletic performance. Several formal mental training programs using hypnotic techniques for performance enhancement have evolved. In sports, even a small gain in performance can mean the difference between a fantastic play and a costly error; therefore, techniques to improve reaction time could be of great benefit to athletes. This study was designed to examine what effect manipulating athletes’ arousal through hypnosis has on their reaction time, as well as investigating what impact, if any, the type of induction used (active vs. passive) has on reaction time. Participants were recruited from an NCAA Division I baseball team. Sixteen players completed the hypnotic training. Each player was able to self-select his induction group. Players received a total of 7 hypnotic sessions. Reaction time was measured using the ImPACT, a computer-based measure used in athletics to examine functioning after a head injury. Results indicated that hypnosis did not have a significant impact on reaction time. Participants reported enjoying the process and feeling like they were able to more vividly visualize the scenario. Participants, regardless of induction group, showed significant improvement in visual memory ability. Further studies, with a larger sample size and a control group, are needed to explore the effect of hypnosis on visual memory.

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