Psychology and Psychiatry


Suggestibility - this is a characteristic of a person, by which is meant the readiness to subordinate his own will to influences emanating from the environment (individuals, groups, newspapers, books, advertising). The suggested people can quickly accept someone else's idea as their own. They take the advice given to them very easily and act according to them, even when they might like to do otherwise. They very quickly take over the habits of those around them, they easily "get infected" with the mood of their loved ones, they tend to imitate.

The degree of suggestibility of each person is different and it depends on various situational and personal factors. Persons suffering from high anxiety, self-doubt, too trusting and timid are more prone to high suggestibility. This quality is the opposite of criticality, it is more characteristic of individuals with a low level of intelligence, poorly developed logical thinking and sluggish thinking processes.

Suggestibility is an individual personality trait, suggesting the degree of personal susceptibility of external influences.

In the hypnotic process, suggestibility is called hypnotibility, that is, a person's ability to succumb to hypnosis. Hypnability is directly dependent on suggestibility, because as it increases, the tendency to hypnabeliness increases.

Absolutely all people are inspired, even those who consider themselves very confident and independent. Although suggestibility is not an advantage, but it is due to evolution, so a person needs to be able to perceive information and follow it. So the whole process of education is built on suggestibility. Parents in the process of education use suggestion, when they try to explain to their children what is bad and what is good, they, in turn, in most cases, follow the instructions unquestioningly.

Increased suggestibility is defined as the compliance and readiness of the individual to believe any incoming information, which clever manipulators may well use. But, in general, if you look, then the tendency of a person to suggestibility may have both advantages and disadvantages.

The disadvantages (negative aspects) are expressed in the fact that the individual is inclined to make judgments uncritically on his own account. From the outside it looks like he has no personal opinion of anything. A person with high suggestibility more often than others falls under the influence of fraudsters and various scam artists, and because of the frequent change of opinion, such individuals may experience interpersonal conflicts.

Pros (positive aspects): it is noticed that people with high suggestibility are more talented; such individuals can more easily and quickly perceive and memorize information, they have a rather plastic mind, which is why they are fairly easily trained.

Suggestibility factors

Suggestibility, as a psychological characteristic of a person has a connection with such factors as the availability of the necessary information for suggestion (in the form of speech, emotions or actions); the presence of individuals willing to accept information; lack of criticality in perceivers.

With an increase in suggestibility, the main role is played by certain factors: anxiety, self-doubt, inferiority complex, low self-esteem, timidity, dependence, increased sensitivity and emotionality, inability to think logically and rationally.

Suggestibility may be increased by the actions of such situational factors as stress, lack of time, fatigue, group pressure, marriage of competence, conditions of uncertainty, various socio-psychological situations, hypnosis.

Increased suggestibility is most common in children (pre-school age) and older people. In adults, it increases during the period of illness.

In the process of suggestion, an important place is occupied by the authority of the person concerned; full confidence in verbal and non-verbal behavior; clear and measured speech inspiring; persons who perceive suggestibility; exposure environment (dim lighting of the space, rhythmic sounds).

The greatest role in the process of suggestion is played by the subjective readiness of the individual to be subjected to external, suggestive influence.

The person's suggestibility depends on the dynamics of personal and situational factors. Under adequate conditions and normal conditions, this may be an acceptable quality, but under adverse conditions it can disorganize the actions of a person and become a quality with a negative sign.

If a person too often experiences external prompting influence, he will have the formation of an appropriate character, in which the prevailing features will be: gullibility, heightened anxiety, timidity, self-doubt, an inferiority complex may arise.

Among the situational factors that have an impact on the formation of personality suggestibility, distinguish the psychophysical state of the subject (relaxed state or emotional arousal), low significance of the subject under discussion for the suggested, low level of competence in the question posed. If a person is influenced in a situation of group suggestion, then he is affected by a factor such as group pressure or conformity, as he is called. It happens that an individual, having passed the test of suggestibility, is defined as suggestible, but in a team is able to resist the suggestibility of others.

A person's inclination to suggestion reveals itself differently in different spheres, depending on the factors that cause it. Therefore, each individual in some way may be suggestible, just because of personal characteristics in some people this is manifested more.

Allocate the primary and secondary suggestibility. Primary - associated with human susceptibility to self-hypnosis and hypnosis. Secondary - based on the relationship of subordination, motivation and low self-esteem.

A person’s suggestibility depends on his age, experience and level of education. A man of mature age, middle-aged, especially a man, is poorly suggestible, he has strong psychological barriers that are difficult to overcome in order to break his will and psyche by subjugating consciousness to himself.

In women, psychological barriers are not so strong, so they are easier to convince, deceive, inspire, bow down to their opinions. Especially, in a situation of anxiety, for example, a threat or danger, a woman becomes defenseless, since the level of her criticality drops to almost zero.

Persons who are unsure of themselves, with a lowered level of aspirations, inadequate low self-esteem, very impressionable, with a reduced level of critical intelligence, who cannot connect events with each other in a logical way, relying on authoritative individuals, dependent, unfreedom, weak-willed, irresponsible .

Reducing the tendency to suggestibility proceeds very slowly, but gradually. Especially the upbringing, social intercourse and practical activity of the individual influences the course of this process. Persons with higher education are less suggestible than those who do not have one. The tendency of a person to suggestibility depends on the level of development of his cultural skills and knowledge.

A person’s suggestibility is more open to perception in a state of exhaustion, relaxation, mental demobilization.

The suggestion of a person is also affected by a state of increased communication, poor information on the topic that has arisen, intimate predisposition to the suggestive effect, lack of time to make an informed decision. Therefore, such individuals accept the information that they impose.

Increased suggestibility occurs in patients with mental disorders.

Light suggestibility is characteristic of individuals prone to hysterical manifestations. Because of what for a long time it was believed that only people prone to hysteria have easy suggestibility. Modern psychotherapists and psychiatrists have studied this issue and found that light suggestibility is also characteristic of patients with neurasthenia. Also, psychiatrists have found that mentally healthy people are more susceptible to suggestive effects than individuals suffering from psychasthenia.

Patients with attentional pathologies, obsessive states, phobias, and strong egocentrism easily become victims of a suggestive influence.

Easy suggestibility is characteristic of people who periodically use alcohol and drugs, and in a state of direct intoxication, they can practically instill at all almost anything, without making special efforts to this.

The light suggestibility of children increases in the age period from seven to eleven years, which is explained by the formation of the qualities of the moral and ethical side of the personality, such as a sense of duty and duty. Children, being in a new condition of a student, feel the responsibility to justify the expectations of adults, positively confirming the information contained in the requests. In other words, the suggestibility of children is determined by the desire to earn an excellent mark in school, try to be better than anyone, comply with external norms and regulations, and be obedient — to do all this so that parents can be proud and talked about well in school.

According to the psychological diagnosis, children of primary school age change their orientation in the assessment sphere of the individual, when the importance of self-esteem is complemented by the importance of the opinions of others about them, which is the basis for increasing the mixed assessment. In this regard, the coincidence of the other person’s opinion with their own opinion has an impressive effect, which is largely based on a sense of duty and duty.

Intragroup suggestibility

Suggestibility may not only be individual, along with it they also distinguish intra-group suggestibility. This concept characterizes the immediate relationship of individuals consisting in a group.

Intra-group suggestibility is defined as the unconscious and absolute acceptance by the group member of the opinion of the same group. Such acceptance occurs, as if in a state of hypnosis, because it is completely indelible to any analysis, accepted without conflict and uncritical.

Intra-group suggestibility is an unconscious attitude, which is expressed in the individual's individual compliance with the ideas and positions of the group, which is a basic feature of the group.

Subject suggestibility can be determined by specific diagnostic tests or through experimental studies.

In the 40s of the 20th century, various studies began to be conducted to determine intra-group suggestibility. In one of these studies, experimental methods of dummy groups were used. The essence of this experiment was to demonstrate the dependence of an individual's opinion on the position of the other participants. This study began with the fact that the subjects were collected in a specially equipped room, they were given the task: to determine the duration of one minute for a certain time, despite the hours, that is, counting seconds for themselves. After a little practice, the subjects were able to learn how to accurately determine the minute with a deviation of up to five seconds.

After that, the next stage of the research began. The subjects were taken to specially installed experimental cabins in which they had to determine the duration of a minute, after which they pressed a button to inform the experimenter and other research participants that the minute had already passed. When you press a button on the remote one of the subjects, the experimenter and the others turned on the light bulbs.

The experiment was that the experimenter gave false signals to all experimental cabinets, who allegedly informed that one or several subjects had finished the countdown. This signal was sent for a flow of only 35 seconds, not minutes. After that, it was recorded which of the subjects also hurried with the press of a button, and who ignored the signal and remained waiting, continuing a personal countdown.

The degree of suggestibility was determined by the difference between the duration of a minute in the first experiments and further when giving false signals. In the course of this experimental study, it turned out that there are a very large number of individuals who showed intra-group suggestibility.

Further, the experiment also continued, and it became clear that it is possible to identify individuals who have a tendency to conformity. If after a while the subjects are given a task in which they will only count the seconds to the completion of the minute, but in the absence of the group, then there is a tendency to return to their previous assessment (correct). Others continue to maintain the interval given by false signals.

It is obvious that the former did not want to stand out from the group, so they seemed to accept her position externally, but, if possible, they easily refused from it as soon as the pressure was eliminated. The second, more suggestible and conformal, accepted the position of the group without conflict and kept it in the future.

The above experience of studying conformity and intragroup suggestibility using the method of dummy groups, using material that does not matter for the subjects, suggests that all individuals can be divided into two groups. The first group is inspired individuals and conformists, the second is independent and stable negativists. In principle, a similar phenomenon was expected, since in the group of individuals who only externally interact with each other and are in a relationship of direct dependence, this should have been the case, there was no need to expect any other result, especially since individuals were required to voice personal judgments. relatively insignificant experience for them. Things like values, beliefs, goals, or ideals that deserve to enter into differences with the group for their sake are not affected.

Orientation to interpersonal relationships inherent in the diffuse group, in which the individual becomes either inspired or independent, from the point of view of pedagogy is considered wrong. Because of this, a pedagogical dilemma arises, in which there are such questions: whether conformists should be educated, seeking to develop creative abilities, autonomy of thinking and attitudes of an individual, or emphasize in child development that he becomes a nonconformist, negativist and nihilist.