Orneantisocialspecialissue1972-1

Orneantisocialspecialissue1972-1 - Orne, M.T. Can a...

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Orne, M.T. Can a hypnotized subject be compelled to carry out otherwise unacceptable behavior?A discussion. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 1972, 20, 101-117. The International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 1972, Vol. XX, No.2, 101-117 CAN A HYPNOTIZED SUBJECT BE COMPELLED TO CARRY OUT OTHERWISE UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR? 1,2 A DISCUSSION MARTIN T. ORNE 3 Institute of the Pennsylvania Hospital and University of Pennsylvania Abstract : The continuing controversy about antisocial behavior and hypnosis is seen as related to the manner in which the question is traditionally phrased. Both the affirmative and negative positions are impervious to empirical refutation. Thus, a refusal to carry out antisocial actions can be ascribed to insufficient depth of hypnosis (or inadequate hypnotic technique), while the behavior of Ss who comply can be explained by asserting that the action merely represents what they would have done anyway. It is recognized that, insofar as agreeing to enter hypnosis may eventually facilitate a closer relationship, a S may become more likely to respond to certain requests than would otherwise be the case. It is proposed that the effect which agreeing to be hypnotized might exert would be similar to that characterized by a therapeutic relationship, a sexual relationship, or the use of alcohol. The reasons why the antisocial aspect of this question cannot be addressed experimentally are discussed. Further, no evidence is available to indicate that hypnosis increases the behavioral control of the hypnotist over that already present prior to its induction. Certainly, the popular view which holds that hypnosis is able to exert a unique form of control over the hypnotized individual, which can compel him to carry out otherwise repugnant actions, must be rejected. The possibility that an individual may be compelled by means of hypnosis to carry out actions otherwise repugnant to him for the benefit of some unscrupulous hypnotist has long aroused the curiosity of novelists and scientists alike. In this context it seems unnecessary to review in detail the many issues that are involved (see, for example, Barber, 1961; Orne, 1961, 1962; Weitzenhoffer, 1949). As we have Manuscript submitted October 28, 1971. 1 An earlier version of this discussion was presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, Philadelphia, October, 1970. 1
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2 The substantive work upon which this discussion was based was supported in part by grant #MH-19156 from the National Institute of Mental Health. 3 I would like to express appreciation to my colleagues, Frederick J. Evans, Harvey D. Cohen, Mary R. Cook, Charles Graham, Emily Carota Orne, and David A. Paskewitz, for their helpful comments in the preparation of this paper. 101
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Orneantisocialspecialissue1972-1 - Orne, M.T. Can a...

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