Interaction between Hypnotist and Subject: A Social Psychophysiological Approach (Preliminary Report)

  • Eva I. Bányai
  • István Mészáros
  • László Csókay


There is a vast amount of literature demonstrating that hypnotic susceptibility is a stable personality trait. In the course of our practice of teaching beginners to hypnotize, however, it occurred to us that hypnotists without sufficient previous training frequently measured a lower level of hypnotic susceptibility than the true score. It has to be emphasized that hypnosis is a special altered state of consciousness which develops as a result of an interaction between a hypnotist and a subject. The failure of beginners to induce hypnosis could be explained by considering an insufficient participation of the hypnotist in this interaction.

The purpose of the present study was to analyze the necessary and sufficient subjective, behavioral and physiological alterations in both participants of the hypnotic interaction. During successful and unsuccessful hypnotic inductions the subjective experiences, behavioral manifestations and physiological indicators including respiration, ECG, EMG, EOG, GSR and bilateral fronto-occipital EEG leads, were recorded simultaneously in the hypnotists and the hypnotized subjects.

The results indicate that hypnotic induction is successful if a mutual “tuning in” of the other person occurs not only on the subjective and behavioral levels, but first of all on the psychophysiological level.


Muscular Tension Hemispheric Dominance Empty Column Stable Personality Trait Hypnotic State 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva I. Bányai
    • 1
  • István Mészáros
    • 1
  • László Csókay
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Comparative PhysiologyEötvös Loránd UniversityBudapestHungary

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