What is Hypnosis?

• A social interaction in which one person (the hypnotist) makes suggestions about perceptions, feelings, thoughts, or behaviors, and another person (the subject) follows those suggestions • Hypnotist serves as a coach or tutor showing you the way.

who they are. and what is transpiring.Hypnosis • • • • • • State of awareness Highly focused attention Increased responsiveness to suggestion Vivid imagery Willingness to accept distortions of logic People do NOT lose control of their behavior. • Alteration of sensation and perception . Instead. they remain aware of where they are.

. • Non-State view – Hypnosis is not a special state and similar effects can be produced when people are properly instructed and motivated. Play the role of what is expected from a good hypnotic subject.Is Hypnosis a Special State of Consciousness? • State view – Hypnosis is a special or altered state of consciousness (see Hilgard’s neodissociation). • Social-cognitive view – subject responds to social demands of the situation.

.Social Influence Theory • Powerful social influences produce a state of hypnosis. • Social factors influence people to believe hypnosis will work. • This theory notes that a person’s physiological state does not change under hypnosis.

. • Neodissociation theory of hypnosis – a hypnotized person consciously experiences one stream of mental activity that is responding to the hypnotist’s suggestions. A second dissociated stream known as the hidden observer is processing info that is unavailable to the consciousness of the hypnotized subject. • Promoted by Ernest Hilgard (1904-2001) • People experience dissociation – the splitting of consciousness into two or more simultaneous streams of mental activity.Divided Consciousness Theory • During hypnosis our consciousness splits so that one aspect of consciousness is not aware of the role that other parts are playing.

A woman doesn’t notice the smell of ammonia. How can this be explained? .

Many people are open to suggestion even when not under hypnosis.Evidence Supporting Hypnosis • Role-Playing hypnotics drop the act when not observed while actually hypnotized subjects maintain the act when not observed. This shows hypnosis is a mental state. . Only the right hemisphere color areas were activated in people not hypnotized. • PET Scans reveal activity increased in the left and right hemisphere color areas when they were told they were seeing color. Activity decreased in the left and right hemisphere color areas when they were told to see gray rectangles regardless of what color they were. • Imaginative suggestibility – the degree to which a person is able to experience an imaginary state of affairs as if it were real.

Hypnotic Techniques .

Hypnotic Induction • The process by which a hypnotist creates a state of hypnosis in a subject • Usually done by voicing a series of suggestions • Voice is usually calm and of a rhythmic tone .

Hypnotizability • Differences in the ability of people to become hypnotized • Varies from person to person • Varies from situation to situation • Most adults are moderately hypnotizable. • People who have positive. . receptive attitudes towards hypnosis and expectations that they respond tend to hypnotize easier. • Children are easier to hypnotize.

Hypnotizability .

Hypnotic Techniques: Hypnotic Suggestions .

. • Hypnosis can lead people to certain behaviors but so can ordinary suggestions. • Hypnosis does not cause behaviors. thoughts.Limits to Hypnotic Suggestions • Suggestions usually involve sensations. emotions. and a wide variety of behaviors.

Hypnotic Techniques: Posthypnotic Suggestions .

that the subject will carry out when no longer hypnotized • Technique can be used to encourage helpful behavior changes. • Most only last for a few hours or days. .Posthypnotic Suggestions • A suggestion. such as stopping smoking or losing weight. made during a hypnosis session.

Hypnosis and Memory .

• Cannot be sure if the memory came back due to hypnosis • Cannot be sure if the memory is accurate or one that is created to please the hypnotist .Hypnosis and Memory • There are isolated cases of hypnosis helping recall.

Produced by a hypnotic suggestion. – Effects are usually temporary and where off either spontaneously with a posthypnotic signal. • Age Regression – Recall or reexperience an earlier developmental period. – Not proven to work and can lead to distortions and inaccuracies or pseudomemories. . – Often distorted and not accurate. • Hypermnesia – Enhancement of memory for past events using hypnotic suggestion.Hypnosis and Memory • Posthypnotic Amnesia – person is unable to recall specific info or events that occurred before or during hypnosis.

Hypnosis and Pain Control .

Pain and Hypnosis • Hypnosis does work as a means to control pain. Because of this. or complete loss of sensation in a part of the body. hypnosis can be used as a form of pain therapy (see Time article) . deafness. • Hypnosis can cause temporary blindness.


• Our cerebral cortex allows to filter out certain info and focus on other info. • If Time Allows. .Hypnosis • Play “Hypnotic Dissociation and Pain Relief” (3:03) Segment #2 from The Mind: Psychology Teaching Modules (2nd edition). • Watch this & read Time article on this subject.

Other Hypnotic Claims .

Placebo Effect • Improvement due only to the power of positive expectations • People think they will get better so they do .

Feats of Strength • Many feats of strength done under hypnosis can be accomplished without hypnosis. .

.Feats of Strength The "amazing" hypnotized "human plank" Actually. unhypnotized people can also perform this feat.

• Hypnosis cannot make you stronger or give you new talents. • Hypnosis cannot make you perform behaviors that are contrary to your morals and values. .Limits to Hypnosis • You cannot be hypnotized against your will.


• Concentrate on the here and now without distractive thoughts. Often a mantra is repeated mentally. your breathing.Meditation • Aim to control or retrain attention. Opening-up Techniques – Present-centered awareness of the passing moment. 2. • Zazen or “just sitting” technique of Buddhism is a form of this. without mental judgment. 1. Concentration Techniques – focusing on a visual image. . a word or phrase. Two general categories.

Frontal lobes are involved in attention focusing tasks and parietal lobes are involved in visual-spatial tasks. and changes in to alpha-brain-waves similar to the state of drowsiness that precedes stage 1 sleep. • SPECT scans show increased blood flow to both frontal lobes and decreased blood flow to the left parietal lobe during meditation. blood pressure. • People experience a lowering of psychological arousal by lowering heart rate.Effects of Meditation • Most use Transcendental Meditation (TM) – Concentrative meditation that does not require any lifestyle changes and follows a simple format. . which are not needed in mediation. Sit with eyes closed and say a mantra over an over in their mind allowing distracting thoughts to fall away.

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