Reed Maxwell

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Lynn, Steven J.

Second Advisor

Johnson, Matthew

Third Advisor

Mattson, Richard

Subject Heading(s)

Hypnotism; Motion pictures -- Psychological aspects; Hypnotic susceptibility -- Testing; Dissociation (Psychology) -- Testing; Memory -- Testing


Researchers have reported increased involvement in reading (Baum and Lynn, 1981) and music-listening (Snodgrass and Lynn, 1989) tasks during hypnosis. We predicted a similar effect for film viewing of greater absorption and involvement in an emotional (The Champ) versus a non-emotional ( Scenes of Toronto) film clip. We also examined the effects of hypnosis and film valence on memory and state depersonalization. Our study is the first to use state dissociation to index response to hypnosis. We tested 121 participants who completed measures of absorption and trait dissociation and the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility and then viewed the two films (approx. 3min per film) after either an hypnotic induction or a non-hypnotic task (i.e., anagrams). State dissociation was evaluated at four points and recall was evaluated immediately after each film. Absorption and emotional response varied as a function of both hypnotic suggestibility and film valence. Highly hypnotizable participants reported more state depersonalization relative to less hypnotizable participants; however, we observed no significant correlation between hypnotizability and trait dissociation, in keeping with previous research (Kirsch and Lynn, 1998). Contrary to the ASCH, hypnosis failed to improve memory. As predicted, the emotional film was associated with more commission and more omission errors than the non-emotional film.