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Modelling delusions of misidentification with hypnosis and examining techniques that encourage belief revision

[Speaker] Cox, Rochelle:1
1:Macquarie University (Australia)

The use of hypnosis to model pathological symptoms such as delusional beliefs is becoming an increasingly popular research technique. These temporary, reversible hypnotic models provide an opportunity to examine belief maintenance and revision in the laboratory. In this paper, I describe research that used hypnosis to model delusions of misidentification, which involve mistaken beliefs about the identity of oneself, other people, places, or objects. I outline ways in which we model these delusions as well as techniques we have developed to encourage subjects to abandon their suggested beliefs. Results indicate that the most successful techniques involve active reality testing or providing subjects with an alternative explanation for their anomalous experiences. The clinical implications of these findings will be discussed as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these hypnotic models.
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