Psychophysiological Comparisons of REST and Hypnosis: Implications for Future Research

  • Helen Crawford


Although one would not equate Restricted Environmental Stimulation Technique (REST) and hypnosis, a consideration of the similarities between the two and the resulting experiential phenomena may permit us better to understand individual differences in cognitive and physiological functioning in the two conditions. Such an evaluation may sensitize us to experimental and theoretical issues that can be addressed in future research. In both REST and hypnosis there is typically a decrease in external stimuli with a redirection towards internal stimuli or more narrowly focused external stimuli (A. Barabasz, 1982; J. Hilgard, 1979). The hypnotic experience usually occurs in a quiet room with another individual (the hypnotist) if it is heterohypnosis, or alone if it is self hypnosis. By contrast, the REST experience occurs in controlled environments that strive for a dramatic reduction of external stimuli by attenuating light and sound in a temperature-controlled flotation tank or chamber. In addition, the REST experience all but eliminates interpersonal contact for various lengths of time. The REST experience may be much longer in duration, from 1 to 24 hours, than the typical hypnotic experience which is usually one hour or less.


Cognitive Flexibility Regional Cerebral Blood Flow Theta Power Hypnotic Suggestion Hypnotic Susceptibility 
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© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Crawford

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