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Hypnosis Psychology Study

Altered States Crash Course Psychology 10

Lemme get your mind right about hypnosis. First of all, it’s a real thing but it’sprobably not what you think it is. All kinds of hypnosisesque practices havebeen around for centuries, but the Western version of it including the kind that youprobably associate with people being made to cluck like chickens on stage croppedup around the 18th century, that’s when German physician Franz Mesmer started treatingall manner of medical problems by putting patients into a trancelike state, duringwhich he claimed to align their “internal magnetic forces,â€� which he called “animalmagnetism.â€�

And many of these mesmerized patients didfeel better, but not because of any magnetism or whatever. Mesmer was inadvertently usingthe healing power of suggestion. In addition to his magnetic quackery, otherphysicians didn’t appreciate Mesmer’s kitschy penchant for wearing capes and playingethereal music on a glass harmonica, and eventually he was discredited. So were his patients just gullible idiots,or was there something else going on? Well, we’ve previously defined consciousnessas our awareness of ourselves and our environment, and consciousness is at work pretty much wheneverwe’re awake, but also while we’re asleep

and dreaming. So hypnosis is a good example of an alteredstate of consciousness when you’re fully conscious in the al sense, but alsonot in what you’d consider a normal waking state. As a person who considers himself onlythe product of one of several states of consciousness, this one that I am currently in right now,it’s worth pointing out how TREMENDOUSLY WEIRD THIS IS! My brain has these other gearsthat it occasionally drops into during which, in a sense, I become not me any more.Altered states can also include things like hallucinations, and the effects of psychoactivedrugs. But these states aren’t as uncommon

as you might think. In fact, you’ve probablyexperienced an altered state yourself… even if you’ve never taken an illicit drug orbeen to a cheesy dinnertheater where the main act wore a glittering turban.[INTRO] So, personal opinions of Mesmer aside, hereare some facts and fallacies worth knowing about hypnosis. First off, let’s define hypnosis simplyas a calm, trancelike state during which you tend to have heightened concentrationand focus, and in which you’re typically more open to suggestion.The phenomenon has been observed in lots of

empirically rigorous studies, and it’s beenused effectively in treatments for stress and anxiety, weight loss, and chronic pain. BUT! It’s important to understand that eventhough you’re more open to suggestion when hypnotized, you do NOT lose control over yourbehavior. So, contrary to what you might see in TheManchurian Candidate or Zoolander, hypnosis can’t make you act totally against yourwill and, say, jump off a building, rob a donut shop, or commit a murder most foul. Nor is hypnosis a reliable way to enhancethe recall of deeply buried memories. We don’t

file away every single one of our experiences.We only permanently store some of them, and even they tend to mutate over time. We’llbe talking all about memory in an upcoming lesson.Finally, only about 20 percent of us are thought to be highly hypnotizable. Those are the folkswhom a hypnotist could get to smile at the smell of sour milk just by suggesting it wasrosewater. And even though we know hypnosis can increaseyour suggestibility, there’s still some disagreement about what exactly constitutesa hypnotic state, or how it’s achieved. Remember, just because we observe a phenomenondoesn’t mean that we have a clue about its

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