Trance Logic, Age Regression, and Incomplete Responding: A Preliminary Investigation of Contextual Influences


  • Steven Jay Lynn
  • John R. Weekes
  • Matthew Milano
  • John Brentar
  • Matthew D. Johnson
  • Liam Condon


Hypnosis, suggestion, age regression, trance logic, simulator


Fifty-four hypnotizable and 49 unhypnotizable simulating subjects were age regressed to age five and asked to write the sentence “I am participating in a psychological experiment” embedded in either “standard” suggestions for regression or in the context of a suggested dream. As predicted, hypnotizable subjects were sensitive to the context manipulation (i.e., dream vs. standard), evidencing more correct or “adult” spelling (“trance logic”) during age regression when the dream context encouraged a melding of fantasy and reality. Simulators’ performance was stable across conditions. Consistent with the hypothesis that incomplete responding is at the heart of incongruous spelling during age regression, the hypnotizable and simulating subjects who evinced the least compelling experiences of age regression were the most likely to spell “adult” words correctly (exhibit “trance logic”). Finally, none of the 31 subjects whose handwriting was rated as “childlike and primitive” spelled the word “psychological” correctly, providing clear evidence that subjects who were the most responsive to the age regression suggestion fail to exhibit trance logic.