Activitas Nervosa Superior

, Volume 58, Issue 3–4, pp 51–61 | Cite as

The “Hidden Observer” as the Cognitive Unconscious During Hypnosis

  • Noemi Császár
  • Felix Scholkmann
  • Gabor Kapócs
  • Istvan BókkonEmail author
Open Access
Ideas and Perspectives


The question of how to define and explain hypnosis is still not completely answered. Most of the theories of hypnosis are based on describing it as an altered state of consciousness; others focus on intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects, sociopsychological, neurocognitive or sociocognitive processes. More detailed explanation of hypnosis requires a synthesis of these various perspectives — a task for future research. Recent experiments are in agreement with Braid’s concept of hypnosis (published already in 1843) defining hypnosis as a process enhancing or depressing neural activity as well as changing functional connectivity among brain regions; the brain regions involved in mental imagery are thought to be central for hypnosis. In the present article we suggest that the “hidden observer” under hypnosis might be due to the cognitive unconscious and that this special state emerges principally in highly susceptible subjects. Explicitly, the “hidden observer” might be nothing other than the cognitive unconscious.

Hypnosis Cognitive unconscious Hidden observer Precuneus Visual areas 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noemi Császár
    • 1
    • 2
  • Felix Scholkmann
    • 3
  • Gabor Kapócs
    • 4
    • 5
  • Istvan Bókkon
    • 2
    • 6
    Email author
  1. 1.Gaspar Karoly University Psychological InstituteBudapestHungary
  2. 2.Psychoszomatic OutPatient DepartmentBudapestHungary
  3. 3.Research Office for Complex Physical and Biological Systems (ROCoS)ZurichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Social Home for Psychiatric PatientsSzentgotthárdHungary
  5. 5.Institute of Behavioral SciencesSemmelweis UniversityBudapestHungary
  6. 6.Vision Research InstituteNeuroscience and Consciousness Research DepartmentLowellUSA

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