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Liberating Behavior from Time-Bound Control: Expanding the Present through Hypnosis
Temporal perspective was experimentally manipulated by verbal instructions to expand the present while minimizing the significance of past and future. The reactions of trained hypnotic subjects to this induction were compared with hypnotic simulators and non-simulating controls. In a fourth group, time sense was made salient but no suggestion given to alter it. Across a variety of tasks, self-report measures and behavioral observations, this modification of the boundaries between past, present, and future resulted in profound consequences among the hypnotic subjects. Changes in affect, language, thought processes, sensory awareness, and susceptibility to social-emotional contagion, accompanied an expanded present orientation. Non-reactive measures distinguished simulators from hypnotic subjects who apparently were better able than the other subjects to incorporate the induced time distortion and perceive it as a viable alternative to their traditional time perspective. Some implications of time as a pervasive, non-obvious, independent variable in the social control of cognition and behavior are outlined.
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