The contrasting role of higher order awareness in hypnosis and meditation
Two key questions underpin the research presented here. Firstly, how does altered higher order awareness contribute to hypnotic experience? Secondly, how do meditation and hypnosis differ in terms of the role of higher order awareness? These questions are addressed here in the form of four papers. In the first paper I review the literatures of hypnosis and meditation in order to consider the similarities and differences between meditation and hypnosis in terms of the role of attentional skill and the neural underpinnings of each. I then draw conclusions regarding the contrasting role of higher order awareness and metacognition in meditation and hypnosis. Paper two explores higher order awareness in hypnosis by comparing the effects of alcohol, compared to placebo, on hypnotisability and associated frontal lobe executive functioning. Paper three compares meditation and hypnosis by investigating differences in higher order thoughts, mindfulness, absorption and perceptual encoding style as revealed by self-report measures. The final paper takes a broader look at higher order awareness and its relation to the experience of agency and involuntariness in hypnotic suggestion using a Libet type paradigm.