University of Sussex
Brighton - UK
Hypnosis as self-deception; Meditation as self-insight
A theme among many theories of hypnosis is that hypnotic response is a form of strategic self-deception about what mental state one is in. Specifically, hypnotic responding involves having executive intentions while not being aware that one has those intentions. By contrast, a theme for many meditation practices, Buddhist as well as some non-Buddhist, is that they involve and cultivate mindfulness; and mindfulness, where it succeeds, involves being aware of the mental states one is in with accurate higher order thoughts. Thus, by this argument, hypnotic response implies a lack of mindfulness, at least for those particular mental states about which one is strategically deceived. This talk will consider the argument, its strengths and weaknesses, and present new empirical evidence for a tension between hypnotic response and mindfulness, using, amongst other things, the Libet paradigm to look at awareness of intentions.