Vittorio Benussi, hypnosuggestive methods, and emotional functional autonomy.

This article reconstructs Vittorio Benussi’s (1878—1927) research on autonomia funzionale emotiva [emotional functional autonomy], carried out in Padua between 1920 and 1927. Its aim is to demonstrate that Benussi believed–against the intellectualist mainstream of the psychology of his time and even against the Brentanian-Meinongian tradition in which he was educated–in the fundamental independence of emotions from the cognitive functions that usually accompany them. To study this autonomy, Benussi used hypnosis as an experimental tool designed to disassemble the phenomena of mental life from their global functional unity. Benussi thus compared the work of psychologists with that of physicists or chemists. This was a unique undertaking for theoretical ambitions and experimental techniques, which was completely abandoned after his premature death. To conclude, the legacy of Benussi’s research on emotions is highlighted, and the resumption of his research model within current studies on the relationships between emotion and cognition is encouraged. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)