Altered and asymmetric default mode network activity in a "hypnotic virtuoso": an fMRI and EEG study.
Lipari S., Baglio F., Griffanti L., Mendozzi L., Garegnani M., Motta A., Cecconi P., Pugnetti L.
Very highly hypnotizable subjects are rare, easily induced, and able to manifest the whole spectrum of hypnotic phenomena, including post-hypnotic amnesia. The aim of this study was to detect and localize by means of quantitative functional MRI and EEG changes in cortical activity during hypnosis induction and deep "pure hypnosis" in a hypnotic "virtuoso" subject. We focused on areas forming the default mode network (DMN), since previous studies found that very highly suggestible subjects in hypnosis showed decreased activity in anterior DMN. During undisturbed hypnosis, our "virtuoso" subject showed not only detectable changes in DMN, but also peculiar activations of non-DMN areas and hemispheric asymmetries of frontal lobe connectivity. Our findings confirm that hypnosis is associated with significant modulation of connectivity and activity which involve the DMN but are not limited to it, depending on the depth of the hypnotic state, the type of mental content and emotional involvement.