pitt0162: October 2011 Archives

Hypnosis Simply a Hoax?

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Growing up in America, many of us have heard of the crazy "phenomena" of Hypnosis. If not, check out this video clip: http://youtu.be/jGlYg2UENQI Hypnosis is a "set of techniques that provides people suggestions for alterations in their perceptions, thoughts, feelings and behaviors". Hypnosis is especially prevalent in Hollywood movies and during big events. If you have ever seen someone get "hypnotized" you may have been instantly amazed! However, have you ever stopped to think about exactly how hypnosis works? Can it really make people unconsciously quack like a duck or completely change personalities? The following ideas may change your perception on hypnosis and challenge your beliefs about it.

Last year I went to the "Senior All-Night Party" at my high school. One event of the night included a hypnotist that called up 20 of my classmates and proceeded to "make" them do CRAZY things like driving fake cars, singing popular songs, and literally crying over the fact that their kitten had just died (there were no real kittens, apparently the hypnotist imposed these feelings on the students). This whole act was very skeptical and did not seem real.

Looking farther into hypnosis I found out that hypnotists actually choose their participants based on their personality features. Some people respond to waking imaginative suggestions. These are highly correlated with response to hypnotic suggestions. So, hypnotists choose people because they will more easily obey what they say. Does this suggest hypnotism really works, or is it just tricks that work with certain people? Many people think that people that are hypnotized are completely unconscious and unaware of their surroundings. However, people that are hypnotized are actually hyper-attentive and can later completely recall things that happened when they are in a "trance". This makes me think that people convince themselves into entering a hypnotized state. Both of these things lead me to believe that the students at our All-Night Party were simply faking their unconscious state while being hypnotized. Although it would take extensive research and countless numbers of studies to show the true effect of hypnosis, as of now, hypnosis simply seems like a hoax.

Sources: http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/extrasensory-perceptions/hypnosis.htm
Psychology 1001 From Inquiry to Understanding, Scott Lilienfeld

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