The Psychological Record

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 315–320 | Cite as

Tonic Immobility as a Response to Rape in Humans a Theoretical Note

  • Susan D. Suarez
  • Gordon G. GallupJr.


Recently (1977) a special issue of The Psychological Record was devoted to the topic of tonic immobility (also known as “animal hypnosis”). The present paper extends that coverage by examining the applicability of the designation tonic immobility to special states of behavioral inhibition in humans, particularly the occurrence of rape-induced paralysis commonly reported by rape victims. Since fear, overtones of predation, contact, and restraint are common denominators to rape and the induction of tonic immobility, and because the reactions by rape victims are often isomorphic with behaviors shown by immobilized animals, it is concluded that tonic immobility and rape-induced paralysis represent the same phenomenon. The adaptive value of this reaction to rape is briefly discussed.


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Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan D. Suarez
    • 1
  • Gordon G. GallupJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyState University of New York at AlbanyAlbanyUSA

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