Here is a link to my high school's Senior All Night Party Facebook page, where like most other high schools we had a hypnotist hypnotise some classmates of mine. I found it extremely hilarious at the time and so amusing to talk to my friends who were able to feel the effects of hypnosis. Yet after learning all about the Scientific Thinking Principles, I am looking back on the experience with a more skeptical approach.
After our party's hypnosis show, I was able to talk to people who were hypnotized. Participants claimed to remember only the moments when they hypnotist had their eyes open. They felt like they were doing the things he told them to do simply because they wanted to. In the Lilienfeld text, they discuss how "volunteers often feel compelled to do outlandish things because they're under intense pressure to entertain the audience" (182). Although I believe this, I also understand the people involved in our show. There are things that occured throughout the performance that if they were in their normal state, they would have responded completely different. This may be my own belief preservance working against me, though. So how exactly do I know that my friends were hypnotized, even after they claimed that they do not remember the hypnosis?
According to Myth Five, hypnotized people do not forget what happened during hypnosis. Spontaneous amnesia is rare and most of the volunteers I talked to claim to have had that experience. Although their memory is not completely wiped out, there are significant parts they cannot remember? So how exactly do we account for that? Myth Four describes that people under hypnosis can recall their immediate settings and events that occur under hypnosis. So between those two myths is where my friends must lie.
It still seems fishy, doesn't it? If you watch the first video of my class being hypnotized, you may see a few moments where the hypnotist could have been participating in what is referred to as the stage whispers technique. During the show I did not notice these actions, but now I can see the hypnotist physically moving the arms of multiple people at different moments throughout the show. Does this help prove the point against the validity of hypnosis?
Overall, the text asks if we can rule out the rival hypotheses for our findings. I have not been able to find an alternate reason for the events my friends participated in under hypnosis. Although my experience with hypnosis can arguably agree with a myth of hypnosis, I believe it was a true hypnosis experience that I witnessed. This can not simply be my belief preservance because of my inability to rule out rival hypotheses. Yet even if I could, who doesn't love the excuse to watch your friends act like crazy, hypnotized fools?! I sure do!