Full title: Using hypnosis to disrupt face processing: mirrored-self misidentification delusion and different visual media.
Mirrored-self misidentification delusion is the belief that one's reflection in the mirror is not oneself. This experiment used hypnotic suggestion to impair normal face processing in healthy participants and recreate key aspects of the delusion in the laboratory. From a pool of 439 participants, 22 high hypnotisable participants ("highs") and 20 low hypnotisable participants were selected on the basis of their extreme scores on two separately administered measures of hypnotisability. These participants received a hypnotic induction and a suggestion for either impaired (i) self-face recognition or (ii) impaired recognition of all faces. Participants were tested on their ability to recognize themselves in a mirror and other visual media - including a photograph, live video, and handheld mirror - and their ability to recognize other people, including the experimenter and famous faces. Both suggestions produced impaired self-face recognition and recreated key aspects of the delusion in highs. However, only the suggestion for impaired other-face recognition disrupted recognition of other faces, albeit in a minority of highs. The findings confirm that hypnotic suggestion can disrupt face processing and recreate features of mirrored-self misidentification. The variability seen in participants' responses also corresponds to the heterogeneity seen in clinical patients. An important direction for future research will be to examine sources of this variability within both clinical patients and the hypnotic model.
Front Hum Neurosci. 2014 Jun 18;8:361. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00361. eCollection 2014. Connors MH(1), Barnier AJ(2), Coltheart M(2), Langdon R(2), Cox RE(2), Rivolta D(3), Halligan PW(4). Author information: (1)ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders Sydney, NSW, Australia; Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University Sydney, NSW, Australia; Dementia Collaborative Research Centre, School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales Sydney, NSW, Australia. (2)ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders Sydney, NSW, Australia; Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University Sydney, NSW, Australia. (3)School of Psychology, University of East London London, UK ; Department of Neurophysiology, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research Frankfurt am Main, Germany ; Ernst Strüngmann Institute for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society Frankfurt am Main, Germany. (4)ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders Sydney, NSW, Australia; School of Psychology, Cardiff University Cardiff, UK.