Functional Neuroimaging Studies of Hypnosis and Meditation: A Comparative Perspective

Laurence Dumont, Christophe Martin, Inge Broer


Over the last few decades, an increasing number of functional neuroimaging studies have been performed with respect to hypnosis and meditation. The objective of this article is to review a number of these studies to compare the neural substrates related to different components of hypnosis and meditation. We examine neuroimaging studies conducted to explore the impact of hypnosis on the brain regions and systems involved in color perception, hand paralysis, pain, and the default-mode network (DMN). We also review neuroimaging investigations carried out to examine the neural correlates of various meditation techniques, as well as the effects of meditation on the brain mechanisms related to emotion, pain, and the DMN. Given the discrepancy existing between the findings from neuroimaging studies of hypnosis and meditation carried out in regard to pain and the DMN, we conclude that it is premature to claim that hypnosis and meditation are mediated by similar brain systems and neural mechanisms.

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The Journal of Mind–Body Regulation