Document Type


Publication Date



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.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Psychological Science, volume 32, issue 1, in 2021 following peer review. This article may not exactly replicate the final published version. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at

The Creative Commons license below applies only to this version of the article.


The authors

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.