Dr Devin Terhune from Goldsmiths University of London, discusses the characteristics of suggestible individuals
We are joined by Dr Devin Terhune from Goldsmiths, University of London, to give a talk on 'The cognitive neuroscience of the highly suggestible person'.
Verbal suggestions, such as those used in placebo or hypnosis, are capable of effecting pronounced changes in cognition and perception and their neurophysiological substrates. The study of highly suggestible individuals, who comprise ~10% of the population, offers a valuable route to understanding the neurocognitive basis of response to suggestion.
After a brief review of contemporary knowledge of high suggestibility, Dr Terhune will describe his recent research aiming to elucidate the neurocognitive profile of these unique individuals. Accumulating evidence points to a selective metacognitive deficit among highly suggestible individuals that renders them less aware of their intentions. These results are complemented by robust evidence for elevated suggestibility in multiple psychiatric and neurological disorders characterised by aberrant metacognition.
Dr Terhune's new magnetoencephalography data suggest that some of these features may be facilitated in part by a specific disruption of connectivity between medial and lateral prefrontal cortices in highly suggestible individuals. This research shows how we are beginning to unravel the psychological and neural characteristics that render certain individuals more responsive to suggestion.