Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Lynda M. Federoff, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Dasen Luo, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

John A. Mills, Ph.D., ABPP


This study compares physiological responses to self-hypnosis and hetero-hypnosis, examines the physiological reactivity associated with hypnosis in general, and assesses for an order effect of these types of hypnosis. It was hypothesized that participants would display different physiological activity when using self-hypnosis as compared to hetero-hypnosis. Second, it was expected that the physiological measures obtained during the second hypnotic session would be the same as the scores obtained during the first hypnotic session, regardless of condition. Participants completed a group session assessing them for hypnotizability. Those showing some affinity for hypnosis then completed an individual lab session involving the use of Electromyelography, Electrocardiography, impendence cardiography, blood pressure, and Electroenceohalography. The lab session involved an A-B-A-B-A design with three resting baseline conditions and two hypnotic conditions. Participants were randomly assigned to hetero-hypnosis first or self-hypnosis first groups, which were counterbalanced for order. Repeated-measures ANOVAs were conducted to assess differences in physiological data between the hetero-hypnosis and self-hypnosis conditions. A post hoc analysis of the reactivity from baseline to hypnotic conditions was conducted using univariate ANOVA for each comparison. Second repeated measures ANOVAs were conducted comparing the first session of hypnosis (regardless of type) and the second session of hypnosis (regardless of type). In addition, a repeated measures ANOVA was conducted to explore for an effect of hypnosis across the study. Finally, a univariate ANOVA was conducted to assess the impact of hypnotizability level on reactivity. Neither of the two hypotheses was confirmed, suggesting there was no difference between types of hypnosis, nor was there an order effect. There were differences in physiological reactivity between baseline and hypnotic conditions, regardless of type of hypnosis, with activity decreasing during hypnotic conditions. The comparison across baseline conditions yielded no significant findings suggesting that participants’ physiological responses returned to baseline following hypnosis. Finally, no significant differences were found in physiological reactivity based on hypnotizability level. These findings suggest hypnosis may cause more relaxed physiological responding than a resting baseline condition and that the effects do not observably endure beyond the hypnotic experience.