The Cerebellum

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 109–118 | Cite as

Cerebellar Structural Variations in Subjects with Different Hypnotizability

  • E PicerniEmail author
  • EL Santarcangelo
  • D Laricchiuta
  • D Cutuli
  • L Petrosini
  • G Spalletta
  • F Piras
Original Paper


Hypnotizability—the proneness to accept suggestions and behave accordingly—has a number of physiological and behavioral correlates (postural, visuomotor, and pain control) which suggest a possible involvement of cerebellar function and/or structure. The present study was aimed at investigating the association between cerebellar macro- or micro-structural variations (analyzed through a voxel-based morphometry and a diffusion tensor imaging approach) and hypnotic susceptibility. We also estimated morphometric variations of cerebral gray matter structures, to support current evidence of hypnotizability-related differences in some cerebral areas. High (highs, N = 12), and low (lows, N = 37) hypnotizable healthy participants (according to the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, form A) were submitted to a high field (3 T) magnetic resonance imaging protocol. In comparison to lows, highs showed smaller gray matter volumes in left cerebellar lobules IV/V and VI at uncorrected level, with the results in left lobule IV/V maintained also at corrected level. Highs showed also gray matter volumes smaller than lows in right inferior temporal gyrus, middle and superior orbitofrontal cortex, parahippocampal gyrus, and supramarginal parietal gyrus, as well as in left gyrus rectus, insula, and middle temporal cortex at uncorrected level. Results of right inferior temporal gyrus survived also at corrected level. Analyses on micro-structural data failed to reveal any significant association. The here found morphological variations allow to extend the traditional cortico-centric view of hypnotizability to the cerebellar regions, suggesting that cerebellar peculiarities may sustain hypnotizability-related differences in sensorimotor integration and emotional control.


Hypnotizability Cerebellum Voxel-based morphometry Diffusion tensor imaging Individual differences 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The Local Ethics Committee of the I.R.C.C.S. Santa Lucia Foundation approved the study and written consent was obtained from all participants after a full explanation of the study procedures. The authors assert that all procedures contributing to this work comply with the ethical standards of the relevant national and institutional committees on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.I.R.C.C.S. Santa Lucia FoundationRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity “Sapienza” of RomeRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and SurgeryPisa UniversityPisaItaly

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