Hypnotic suggestion modulates cognitive conflict: the case of the flanker compatibility effect

Cristina Iani, Federico Ricci, Elena Gherri, Sandro Rubichi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present work was aimed at investigating whether the flanker compatibility effect can be eliminated by means of a posthypnotic suggestion influencing attentional focusing. In Experiment 1, participants who scored high and low on hypnotic susceptibility performed the flanker compatibility task when naturally awake and when under a posthypnotic suggestion aimed at increasing the target's discriminability from the flankers. Results showed that the posthypnotic suggestion effectively eliminated the flanker compatibility effect in highly susceptible participants, whereas low-susceptibility participants did not show any reduction in the effect. In Experiment 2, highly susceptible participants performed the task after receiving a suggestion but without the induction of hypnosis. Results showed that the suggestion alone was not sufficient to reduce the flanker compatibility effect. These results support the view that in highly susceptible participants, hypnotic suggestion can influence the ability to focus on relevant information.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-7
Number of pages7
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Adult
  • Cognition
  • Conflict (Psychology)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnosis
  • Male
  • Reaction Time
  • Suggestion

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