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Body sway modulation by hypnotizability and gender during low and high demanding postural conditions.

Giulio Mecacci, Manuel Menzocchi, Andrea Zeppi, Giancarlo Carli, Enrica Laura Santarcangelo


The cognitive trait of hypnotizability, associated with the proneness to accept suggestions, exhibits several physiological correlates including the modulation of sensorimotor integration  and, in particular, of postural control. In this respect, we have shown that, at eyes closure, healthy subjects with high hypnotizability scores (highs) having their feet 2 cm apart show larger and faster body sway with respect to low hypnotizable individuals (lows). The aim of the present study was to investigate whether hypnotizability modulates body sway during slightly more demanding and very difficult postural conditions such as feet together bipedal posture and one legged stance, respectively. The Center of Pressure (CoP) Area, mean Velocity, the CoP mean position (Xmean, Ymean) and its variability (SDx, SDy) in the frontal and sagittal  planes were acquired in 18 highs (9 females) and 18 lows (9 females). Results showed that the previously observed lows’ smaller and slower body sway was not present any longer. Nonetheless, hypnotizability interacted with gender in the modulation of the variability of the CoP movement in the frontal plane during both the bipedal feet together posture and one legged stance, as significant gender differences were observed only among lows. In conclusion, results confirm a role of hypnotizability in sensorimotor integration and support the relevance of hypnotic assessment in clinical settings, as hypnotizability may be responsible for part of the postural variability.



Hypnotisability; Posture;Centre of Pressure; Gender; Sensori-motor integration; Hypnotic susceptibility.

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