Suggestions can cause some individuals to miss or disregard existing visual stimuli, but can they infuse sensory input with nonexistent information? Although several prominent theories of hypnotic suggestion propose that mental imagery can change our perceptual experience, data to support this stance remain sparse. The present study addressed this lacuna, showing how suggesting the presence of physically absent, yet critical, visual information transforms an otherwise difficult task into an easy one. Here, we show how adult participants who are highly susceptible to hypnotic suggestion successfully hallucinated visual occluders on top of moving objects. Our findings support the idea that, at least in some people, suggestions can add perceptual information to sensory input. This observation adds meaningful weight to theoretical, clinical, and applied aspects of the brain and psychological sciences.
Landry, M., Da Silva Castanheira, J., Sackur, J., & Raz, A. (2021). Difficult turned easy: Suggestion renders a challenging visual task simple. Psychological Science, 32(1), 39–49. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797620954856
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