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No. 51: May-Jun 1987

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Rare but there: hypnotic enhancement of eidetic imagery

Eidetic imaging is a remarkable capability, manifested more often in children, in which complex images can be recalled with great detail and realism in a format similar to a hallucination. This mysterious "talent" can be enhanced by hyp notism, indicating perhaps that it is latent in us all.

"The production of eidetic-like imagery during hypnosis in subjects with high but not low hypnotizability was supported in three separate experiments using nonfakable stereograms. In Experiment 1, 6 (25%) of 24 stringently chosen, high hypnotizables were able to perceive one of the superimposed stereograms (presented monocularly) during conditions of standard hypnosis or age regression, or under both conditions, but not during waking. In Experiments 2 and 3, low and high hypnotizables were presented stereograms in an alternating, monocular fashion (one-half to each eye). In Experiment 2, 10% of the high hypnotizables perceived one or more stereograms in hypnosis or age regression, but not during waking. In Experiment 3, none of the 17 low hypnotizables reported correct stereograms, but 6 of the 23 high hypnotizables (26%) did. Relationships between imagery performance and visuospatial abilities were investigated. Results support the general hypothesis that hypnosis enhances imaginal processing of information to be remembered that is a literal or untransformed representation."

(Crawford, Helen J., et al; "EideticLike Imagery in Hypnosis: Rare But There," American Journal of Psychology, 99:527, 1986.)

From Science Frontiers #51, MAY-JUN 1987. 1987-2000 William R. Corliss