The cerebral cortical correlates of the susceptibility to hypnosis in the ordinary states of consciousness have not been clarified. Aim of the study was to characterize the EEG dynamics of subjects with high (highs) and low hypnotisability (lows) through the non-linear method of Recurrence Quantification Analysis (RQA). The EEG of 16 males--8 highs and 8 lows--was monitored for 1min without instructions other than keeping the eyes closed, being silent and avoiding movements (short resting), and during 15 min of simple relaxation, that is with the instruction to relax at their best. Highs and lows were compared on the RQA measures of Determinism (DET) and Entropy (ENT), which are related to the signal determinism and complexity. In the short resting condition discriminant analysis could classify highs and lows on the basis of DET and ENT values at temporo-parietal sites. Many differences in DET and all differences in ENT disappeared during simple relaxation, although DET still separated the two groups in the earliest 6min of relaxation at temporo-parietal sites. Our RQA based approach allows to develop computer-based methods of hypnotic assessment using short-lasting, single channel EEG recordings analyzed through standard mathematical methods.
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