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Hypnosis is a hotly debated state of awareness in that as the question indicates state theorists hold that it involves an altered state of awareness while other non-state theorists claim it is simply an act of social compliance where the hypnotised simply act out a role Nevertheless as we shall see research has led to an understanding of various aspects of the phenomenon of hypnosis but it has failed to resolve this debate Research using the Cold Pressor Test CPT involving participants submerging their forearm into iced water and trying to keep it there for as long as they possible can has been used to try to resolve whether hypnosis is or is not an altered state of awareness Initially participants get the sensation of coldness this is very quickly followed by a tingling sensation which is quickly followed by pain that gets increasing stronger the longer the forearm stays in the water until it is so unbearable they have to withdraw it from the water Hilgard tested all participants on the CPT to gain a baseline measure He then hypnotised half of the participants and suggested that they would not be consciously aware of any pain when they submerged their forearm into the cold water The other half were told to simulate - act out the role of how a hypnotised person would respond if they had been told that they would not be consciously aware of any pain when they submerged their forearm into the cold water Results showed that most people in a conscious waking state who are simply role playing as opposed to being in a supposed altered state hypnotised can only keep their forearm submerged for around 25 seconds before they are compelled to withdraw The hypnotised participants however could hold their forearm in iced water for significantly longer than simulators without being conscious of feeling any pain Nevertheless during the study Hilgard asked hypnotised participants to indicate if
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