I first review recent work from our lab which construes hypnotisability as an example of a more general trait of capacity for phenomenological control, which people can use to create subjective experiences in many non-hypnotic contexts where having those experiences fulfils people’s goals; and second I review some recent work which construes phenomenological control as a specifically metacognitive process, where intentional cognitive and motor action occurs without awareness of specific intentions (cold control theory).
In terms of the reach of phenomenological control, I argue that various laboratory phenomena, namely vicarious pain, mirror-touch synesthesia and the rubber hand illusion are to an unknown degree a construction of phenomenological control.
The argument can of course be extended in principle to other experiences people have in the lab and outside of it. For example, the experience of the absorptions in states of concentration meditation may to an unknown degree depend on phenomenological control. In terms of the reach of cold control, I will just consider the relation between mindfulness and cold control (seen as a lack of mindfulness of intentions).
Professor of Psychology, University of Sussex. I organize Conscious and Unconscious Mental Processes, a final year option module; Perspectives on Psychology, a final year core module. I also teach philosophy of science in the masters module Ethics, Philosophy, and Methods, and a series of lectures on hypnosis in the first year undergraduate module Contemporary Issues in Psychology.