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Increased anterior corpus callosum size associated positively with hypnotizability and the ability t

18 Oct
Researchers from The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Virginia conducted the first MRI study to report differences in brain structure size between low and highly hypnotizable, healthy, right-handed young adults. There has been much theorizing about the size of the corpus collosum (the dividing structre between the 2 hemispheres of the brain, known to be more developed, generally, in women, for instance) being associated with greater ability to make use of immersive tools such as hypnosis and guided imagery.

Participants were stringently screened for hypnotic susceptibility with two standardized scales, and then exposed to hypnotic analgesia (pain reduction) training to control cold pressor pain.

Only the highly hypnotizable subjects (HHs) who eliminated pain perception were included in the present study. These HHs, who demonstrated more effective attentional and inhibitory capabilities, had a significantly (P < 0.003) larger (31.8%) rostrum, a corpus callosum area involved in the allocation of attention and transfer of information between prefrontal cortices, than low hypnotizable subjects (LHs).

These results provide support to the neuropsychophysiological model that HHs have more effective frontal attentional systems implementing control, monitoring performance and inhibiting unwanted stimuli from conscious awareness, than LHs.

Citation: Horton JE, Crawford HJ, Harrington G, Downs JH 3rd. Increased anterior corpus callosum size associated positively with hypnotizability and the ability to control pain. Brain. 2004 Aug;127(Pt 8):1741-7. Epub 2004 Jul 01. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award