Hypnosis as Role Enactment: The Role Demand Variable

William C. Coe
1966 American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis  
This study is a continuation and extension of an earlier report (1) which examined hypnotic susceptibility in the framework of role theory (2). Three of six variables 3 which contribute to the effectiveness of enacting a role (hypnotic responsiveness in this case) were tested -two of them significantly affected the degree of hypnotic susceptibility. This experiment manipulated role demands, one of the other three variables previously controlled, in order to examine its contribution to role
more » ... bution to role enactment when subjects were equated on the variables already found to have a significant effect. The manipulated role demand was whether or not the subject thought he was being observed by a group of students during an hypnotic session. Method Subjects: 20 Ss who had indicated in the earlier study that they would volunteer for further hypnotic sessions were selected; they were paid three dollars for the session. All Ss were males over 21 years old. Ten pairs of Ss were matched on three role theory variables according to dichotomous classification of high and low (determined by the mean score as a cutting point in the original sample of 168 Ss) : congrence of self and role, role expectations, role playing aptitude. The pairs were also matched on hypnotic susceptibility as determined from their previous scores on the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility (3); the largest discrepancy in hypnotic score between any members of a pair was two units (the range on the Harvard Scale is O-12). The mean hypnotic score of the ten Ss in the "audience" condition (5.0) was not significantly different from that of the Ss in the "no audience" condition (4.6), p > .4. The other two role theory variables were held constant for the groups. The E's role as hypnotist was uniform, thus, cues to accurate role perception were the same for all Ss. There was minimal differential reinforcement from the ecology because the same standard verbatim hypnotic suggestions were administered to all Ss. Procedure: Appointments were arranged so that time of administration was balanced for the Ss of each group. Audience group: Shortly after the S arrived for his appointment, and before the hypnotic procedure, an assistant knocked on the door and informed E that "everyone is here." This was done so that S was certain to hear and see the assistant. E then explained to S that he would serve a dual purpose of training and experimentation
doi:10.1080/00029157.1966.10402490 pmid:5903493 fatcat:2c3b4pm5g5d3xm7e4lpftg3qtq