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Old 8th May 2012, 05:26 PM   #41
dropzone
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I tried real hard, even pretending it worked. Y'see, the hypnotist helping me quit smoking may have been a nun, but she was in civilian clothes and about my age and cute and nuns don't stay nuns forever these days....

So no, I kept smoking and I didn't get to date a nun.
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Old 8th May 2012, 06:26 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Minarvia View Post
Oh, that makes sense! I read it quite a different way.
That's because it was written in needless medical speak. That's like the use of double negatives in needless lawyer speak.
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Old 8th May 2012, 07:02 PM   #43
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I've also got some "anecdotal evidence" to add to this thread.

When I was in college I went to a school psychologist because I'd been feeling depressed. After several weeks of regular talking therapy with no success (I was quite obstinate about my feelings of apathy and worthlessness), the psychologist suggested we try hypnosis. The notion appealed to me, so I decided to give it a go.

I kicked back on the devon wearing headphones and she put on a cassette tape of some guy talking real slowly and smoothly, entreating me to relax. The soothing language gradually segued into a series of visualization exercises. As I dutifully followed the directions in the recording, I began to focus all my attention into performing the little mental activities the voice was proposing.

For example, I was instructed to visualize the thing that was bothering me most at that particular moment in time, and assign it a color and a shape. I was then instructed to mentally draw a circle around it with a piece of white chalk, then to imagine that chalk outline getting smaller and smaller until constricted the object of my discomfort, eventually compressing and shrinking it away to nothing. Now it may seem silly, but at the time I found these exercises to be a pleasant distraction from my previous anxious and miserable attitude. In that sense, I suppose the "hypnosis therapy" worked to some extent. But it only provided momentary relief. I was back to my miserable old self again within hours after leaving the office.

My first few hypnosis sessions were not very successful. It was difficult for me to concentrate on the material and not become distracted by outside noises or stray thoughts. One time I actually dozed off during the session and the therapist woke me after hearing my snoring. But as time went on, over a number of sessions I developed the ability to achieve the meditative state quite easily, even on my own. At that point, the therapist quit using the audio cassettes and just spoke to me directly. Around that time I also started practicing self-hypnosis on my own at home.

While under hypnosis, I was often able to attain a strange sensation that is difficult to describe, something like falling backwards while at the same time "floating" weightlessly. That feeling, along with the visualization exercises and the meditative state in general, were far from effortless to maintain. In my experience, "hypnosis" required constant, unwavering concentration.

I feel I ought to point out that at no time during any of these sessions was I ever in any kind of zombie-like "trance" state. At all times I was fully able to control my own thoughts and feelings. At no point was I under anyone's control, nor would I have been compelled to do anything I wouldn't have wanted to do in the first place. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been impervious to pain or anything like that, either. The experience was basically a form of deep relaxation and meditation, nothing more.

I've also seen stage hypnotism acts before, and even got called onstage for a hypnotism show once. That experience was nothing at all like my other experiences with "real" hypnosis. The stage show was pretty much just people playing along for kicks. A bunch of us even started goofing on the magician behind his back, and when he caught on he politely "de-hypnotized" us and sent us back to our seats amid a round of applause.
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Old 8th May 2012, 07:30 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
....
I've also seen stage hypnotism acts before, and even got called onstage for a hypnotism show once. That experience was nothing at all like my other experiences with "real" hypnosis. The stage show was pretty much just people playing along for kicks. A bunch of us even started goofing on the magician behind his back, and when he caught on he politely "de-hypnotized" us and sent us back to our seats amid a round of applause.
Given what I've posted that people's susceptibility to hypnosis varies greatly and this is well documented, how do you know all the people on the stage were "people playing along for kicks"?

It's sounds like you were relaxed and maybe even in a suggestible state with the psychologist, but I don't see where you were actually hypnotized so that you can say it's what it is like for others who might be.
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Old 8th May 2012, 07:49 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Given what I've posted that people's susceptibility to hypnosis varies greatly and this is well documented, how do you know all the people on the stage were "people playing along for kicks"?

Because I was up on stage right there with them, watching them do the same kinds of things I'd been told to do, and playing along just as I had done. I could see it in their actions and their facial expressions.

We got called onstage one by one. There were already a couple people up there when I got picked. After the hypnotist did his "induction" spiel (which was completely unlike the gradual, time-consuming routine I'd encountered in therapy) he announced to the audience I was now in a "trance," and he gave me a number of little scenarios to play out: getting a haircut being itchy under the collar, being outdoors on a cold day without a jacket, meeting a strange dog for the first time.

After finishing the initial demonstration with me, he instructed me to sit in a chair on the stage next to the previous participants and called a few more people to do their thing. It was at that point that I was able to observe how those people were behaving from close range, and it was pretty clear they were just playing along just like I had done. At one point, a guy seated next to me began whispering wisecracks about the magician and his act. He was really funny, and though the audience couldn't hear him, I started having a difficult time containing my laughter.

After all the chairs onstage were occupied, the magician began issuing commands to all of us as a group. At that point the guy really let loose with the jokes. A couple other people on stage joined in and it eventually became obvious to the "hypnotist" that the show was getting away from him, so he instructed about 4 or 5 of us jokers to step forward. He told us we were all monkeys at the zoo, and when one of the guys failed to perform, cracked a lame joke about his armpits getting very itchy. Then he did his "de-induction" routine on all of us as a group, asked for a round of applause, and told us to sit down.

Believe me, the whole thing was corny as hell. There was no real mental manipulation going on.
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Old 8th May 2012, 07:57 PM   #46
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Quote:
...and when he caught on he politely "de-hypnotized" us and sent us back to our seats amid applause.
I find this situation odd. I would never have turned my back on a subject, ever.

I mentioned a few ways of determining when a subject was "faking" hypnosis, but I think what needs to be said here is that after going through very subtle tests to determine if he is in fact under hypnosis, the subject may actually be trying to behave in a manner expected of him in order to please the operator (hypnotist). Yes, no question that this is definitely possible, however I have tried to imagine a situation where I had chosen several potentially good subjects, and discovered any of them actually putting me on, or actively trying to deceive me. This is not something I myself have ever experienced, but I guess it is possible. In all cases where I felt they were not sufficiently deep in the trance, I merely asked them to wake up and moved on to the others. There are just too many details that a person would have to know in order to pull off a deceptive trance state.

I have not heard any good evidence that hypnosis is BS just yet. I think there are excellent subjects, mediocre ones, and those who just never will be hypnotized, like myself for instance. The excellent ones can be given a post hypnotic suggestion that a single word can induce the hypnotic state. I have done this many, many times. In fact, on several occasions, I tried the so called "zap" method. The subject, fresh out of an audience, is told to close his/her eyes, and told they cannot open them...try hard to open your eyes, etc. If he cannot, then just touch the shoulder, and say, "You are deeply asleep..." It worked once for me.

I read a fair amount about hypnosis many years ago, and lost interest at some point, but as I mentioned, there was a common thread that seemed to me to join all the really excellent subjects. Something like "outgoing, good listener, smiles a lot, not afraid to be touched," all kinds of things in this vein. It became kind of a sixth sense for me when choosing subjects. It was honestly a lot of fun, because people seemed to enjoy being hypnotized.
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Old 8th May 2012, 08:09 PM   #47
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I am as skeptical as they come, but also unafraid to experience ******** over and over. My experience being hypnotized, for an Unspecified Condition, was fantastic. It went away. I believe that my emotions, subconscious, whatever, was shown that its fear was really under control, not out of control. Simply amazing.

I also saw a stage hypnosis at a business dinner with several hundred in attendance. The hypnotist was ver skilled. He had a lot of people up on stage at first and simply whittled his way down to the most willing. He had them walking around growling as Frankenstein monsters, doing Elvis impersonations, what have you. At the end, the quiet that fell over the group was a testament to the shock we all felt at what we had witnessed.

It's not magic. It's simple human behavior that most of us don't want to admit exists.
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Old 8th May 2012, 08:10 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
OK, that's not the biggest deal but when my brother hypnotized my girlfriend, there is no way it was faked. I couldn't be hypnotized. I don't think I'm the type to let my mind relax. But Teri was another story. She went under easily. My brother told her she was naked and the rest of us weren't. She giggled but wasn't that freaked out. But then he told her she was on the ceiling looking down and she literally started screaming and kicking her legs. It was totally unexpected and out of character for anyone who was just faking it or going along like the Peter Popoff forehead push knock over. My brother had to bring her out of it right then.
Out of curiosity, how high was this ceiling from the ground? While unexpected and startling, I wonder at why a person would act terrified over being 6-8 feet above the floor. Perhaps being upside down and 6-8 feet above the ground would be spooky, but you make it sound to me like she was hysterical.
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Old 8th May 2012, 08:28 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
Out of curiosity, how high was this ceiling from the ground? While unexpected and startling, I wonder at why a person would act terrified over being 6-8 feet above the floor. Perhaps being upside down and 6-8 feet above the ground would be spooky, but you make it sound to me like she was hysterical.
She was hysterical. I'm telling you it surprised us and was a tad scary for a couple seconds. My brother immediately told her she was back on the ground. She was kicking her feet and screaming.

We were kids, 14 and 16. It just wasn't something someone faking it or even someone trying to please the hypnotizer would have done. It was a totally unexpected reaction and not one someone faking it would have invented on the spot like that, especially Teri. This is a girl that ended up pregnant at 15. She wasn't the brightest bulb on the block, definitely not a conjurer of clever reactions.

The ceiling was standard height, average room.
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Old 8th May 2012, 08:30 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Kensington Bailey View Post
I am as skeptical as they come, but also unafraid to experience ******** over and over. My experience being hypnotized, for an Unspecified Condition, was fantastic. It went away. I believe that my emotions, subconscious, whatever, was shown that its fear was really under control, not out of control. Simply amazing.

I also saw a stage hypnosis at a business dinner with several hundred in attendance. The hypnotist was ver skilled. He had a lot of people up on stage at first and simply whittled his way down to the most willing. He had them walking around growling as Frankenstein monsters, doing Elvis impersonations, what have you. At the end, the quiet that fell over the group was a testament to the shock we all felt at what we had witnessed.

It's not magic. It's simple human behavior that most of us don't want to admit exists.
I agree with that. I never did the growling monsters or Elvis stuff or anything to embarrass a subject. I was more intrigued by memory feats, using decks of cards, and complex post hypnotic stuff, such as linguistic tics or causing certain simple tasks to become physically impossible in a waking state.

ETA: edited after posting recollections about an anecdote that upon reflection turns out to be irrelevant to the thread.

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Old 8th May 2012, 10:36 PM   #51
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Hypnosis is 100% BS and 100% not BS
It simply depends on what your definition of hypnosis is.

We already have stuff that can make us believe and do completely silly things and mess with our sense of reality. Ever seen people screaming in panic when their lives are in no real danger? I've seen plenty of those during horror movie screens. And yes, for this to work, you need to fully emerge yourself and focus on the movie. And yes, not everyone would scream at the same movie. Some would just get bored.

There is nothing magical or supernatural about that.

The BS portion of hypnosis comes when people try to claim any "supernatural" explanations and even worse "supernatural" results.
For example, P&T had a show about hypnosis and had a woman claiming she can hypnotize people to enlarge their breasts or grow hair. Total BS.

Hypnosis is basically just a willingness to roleplay. Anyone who says otherwise please think of one simple question:

If your test for hypnosis requires the subject to be willing - he can't object - then how on earth would you tell that apart the "real" hypnosis from the "fake" hypnosis?

I had this conversation with a friend who argued with me on it:
Me: Stand up
(he stands up)
Me: There, you see I hypnotized you!
Him: You didn't hypnotize me, you just told me to stand up and I did
Me: What's the difference?
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Old 8th May 2012, 11:32 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
Hypnosis is 100% BS and 100% not BS
It simply depends on what your definition of hypnosis is.
Yup, that's always been my take on it. It's a lot like the so-called placebo effect--it reveals some interesting stuff about how the brain works, but it's all perfectly mundane. Neither hypnosis nor a sugar pill will ever cure your syphilis.

Quote:
I had this conversation with a friend who argued with me on it:
Me: Stand up
(he stands up)
Me: There, you see I hypnotized you!
Him: You didn't hypnotize me, you just told me to stand up and I did
Me: What's the difference?
Heh, I had a friend who claimed he could hypnotize cats. He'd pick them up, stare deeply into their eyes, and say, "Do whatever you want." Then he'd put the cat down, turn to us and say, "See? It worked!"
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Old 9th May 2012, 12:20 AM   #53
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Originally Posted by GrandMasterFox View Post
Hypnosis is 100% BS and 100% not BS
It simply depends on what your definition of hypnosis is.

We already have stuff that can make us believe and do completely silly things and mess with our sense of reality. Ever seen people screaming in panic when their lives are in no real danger? I've seen plenty of those during horror movie screens. And yes, for this to work, you need to fully emerge yourself and focus on the movie. And yes, not everyone would scream at the same movie. Some would just get bored.

There is nothing magical or supernatural about that.

The BS portion of hypnosis comes when people try to claim any "supernatural" explanations and even worse "supernatural" results.
For example, P&T had a show about hypnosis and had a woman claiming she can hypnotize people to enlarge their breasts or grow hair. Total BS.

Hypnosis is basically just a willingness to roleplay. Anyone who says otherwise please think of one simple question:

If your test for hypnosis requires the subject to be willing - he can't object - then how on earth would you tell that apart the "real" hypnosis from the "fake" hypnosis?

I had this conversation with a friend who argued with me on it:
Me: Stand up
(he stands up)
Me: There, you see I hypnotized you!
Him: You didn't hypnotize me, you just told me to stand up and I did
Me: What's the difference?
I see nothing about the science showing objective measurable changes in brain function under hypnosis that claims anything about it is supernatural.

As for your claim it is just people willing to comply, I don't think my friend was complicit in freaking out over being on the ceiling looking down. I do believe that was not something she agreed to perceive.
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Old 9th May 2012, 12:25 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by xtifr View Post
Yup, that's always been my take on it. It's a lot like the so-called placebo effect--it reveals some interesting stuff about how the brain works, but it's all perfectly mundane. Neither hypnosis nor a sugar pill will ever cure your syphilis.

Heh, I had a friend who claimed he could hypnotize cats. He'd pick them up, stare deeply into their eyes, and say, "Do whatever you want." Then he'd put the cat down, turn to us and say, "See? It worked!"
No one claimed hypnosis cured infectious disease and I fail to see any correlation with people who claim to hypnotize cats.

I do, however, see some people digging in their heels about what they previously believed about hypnosis and refusing to look at new evidence.
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Old 9th May 2012, 12:33 AM   #55
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
As for your claim it is just people willing to comply, I don't think my friend was complicit in freaking out over being on the ceiling looking down. I do believe that was not something she agreed to perceive.
Why not? I once agreed to climb a vertical crevice in Glacier Park, but then totally freaked out when I got about two thirds of the way up. I couldn't move, not to go up or down, for what felt like an hour (though was probably only about ten minutes) before I got ahold of myself well enough to slowly descend again.

Why couldn't your friend have agreed to imagine herself at the ceiling before realizing what that would imply, and then freaked out to realize the position she'd imagined herself into?
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Old 9th May 2012, 01:26 AM   #56
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
No one claimed hypnosis cured infectious disease and I fail to see any correlation with people who claim to hypnotize cats.

I do, however, see some people digging in their heels about what they previously believed about hypnosis and refusing to look at new evidence.
How do you know she just didn't believe the hypnosis would work, and went along with it?

You don't, and nor do I. Your story in no way proves hypnotism is some sort of magical power.

In absence of evidence of hypnosis being paranormal, I take the null hypothesis.

ETA: Just had a thought that hypnosis is rather like the placebo effect.
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Old 9th May 2012, 01:47 AM   #57
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Anyone who witnessed my friend's reaction kicking and screaming, would know it was not faked. No matter how or why it occurred, she was truly terrified. The three of us watching were taken by surprise at her reaction. No one expected it.
I am surprised that folk here assume hypnosis is false, perhaps it falls within some woo category.

You only need to experience a good stage show to confirm that it works and there are plenty around.

I use self hypnosis as a quick way to relax or get to sleep when I have insomnia.
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Old 9th May 2012, 02:35 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
She was hysterical. I'm telling you it surprised us and was a tad scary for a couple seconds. My brother immediately told her she was back on the ground. She was kicking her feet and screaming.

We were kids, 14 and 16. It just wasn't something someone faking it or even someone trying to please the hypnotizer would have done. It was a totally unexpected reaction and not one someone faking it would have invented on the spot like that, especially Teri. This is a girl that ended up pregnant at 15. She wasn't the brightest bulb on the block, definitely not a conjurer of clever reactions.

The ceiling was standard height, average room.
I don't mean to push you on this, but there is a possibility other than faking it out of peer pressure. She sounds like she was acting how she thought she should or would act in the situation if it actually happened. I can't help but think she seems to have overdone it by becoming hysterical over something that does not seem worthy of terrified hysteria. I am still open to learning about a mechanism that supposedly affects the coagulation of blood etc, but I still think it's nothing more than a total suspension of the skeptical mind and a total willingness to role play, to the point it is not a deception, merely acting completely in character to the best of their honest ability. I think this may tie in to something akin to the placebo effect.

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Old 9th May 2012, 02:43 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by punshhh View Post
I am surprised that folk here assume hypnosis is false, perhaps it falls within some woo category.

You only need to experience a good stage show to confirm that it works and there are plenty around.

I use self hypnosis as a quick way to relax or get to sleep when I have insomnia.
You seem to not be aware of how those stage shows work, often. In that situation people are merely pretending for the benefit of the audience through something akin to peer pressure and a desire to let the ego go and be controlled or experience something strange.

Derren Brown has some great shows on this, where he takes people with no history or training in hypnosis, he has them take people up on stage, and people go right along with whatever the person says. Penn and Teller also have a BS episode on the matter which sheds a little light on it. It's not conclusive, but it sure demonstrates how silly those stage shows are.

Hypnosis has results, so does the placebo effect. I do not personally consider it true that people are being put into some kind of trance that can create another world of perception for them. I think people are simply relinquishing skepticism to the point they refuse to doubt what is happening and comply to the best of their ability.

In this sense, hypnotism is real, but it's just another word for things most people would not consider hypnotism in my opinion.

I don't appreciate it being implied I am somehow digging my heels in about this. I am straining to be honestly open to the evidence presented.

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Old 9th May 2012, 06:47 AM   #60
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I used to hear about hypnosis being used to cure warts, but never really took it seriously. I'm not so sure any more, after having one wart removed on one heel, and being told (suggested that) the other one, on the other heel, would probably go away by itself. It did.

Source
Quote:
Joan Raymond writes: Got a weird wart? If home remedies like acid or duct tape aren't working to annihilate it, try self-hypnosis. It's not as crazy as you think.
There is some research, seemingly believable which appears to indicate suggestion and/or self hypnosis has some effect. As the author of the above article states, "all hypnosis is self hypnosis". I think that is probably correct.

As for "magic", no one is claiming such a thing.

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Though most of us experience a trance-like state akin to self hypnosis when we're engrossed in a TV show or reading a good book, the deeply focused state of hypnosis can only be achieved if a person practices.
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Old 9th May 2012, 07:16 AM   #61
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I got into hypnosis in the '80s. The one thing I was taught first and foremost is All hypnosis is self-hypnosis.

What I have learned along the way is hypnosis is real and it doesn't work.

If you go to a hypnotist to quit smoking then you are motivated to quit smoking, the sessions may help give you some things to use as mental re-inforcement aids to avoid the cravings of smoking and eventually you may quit smoking.

If your wife forces you to go, it is pointless and will not work at all.

I can hypnotise people willing to be hypnotised, period. I guarantee if I make suggestions they are uncomfortable with, they will snap out of it.

I have done a lot of past life regressions with people that were really interested in their past lives, they were all successful but the number of past famous people is huge. and this is with me not believing in past lives at all, not one whit.

BTW, I am out of the game now having moved on to make a living as a systems analyst.
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Old 9th May 2012, 12:35 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
Hypnosis has results, so does the placebo effect. I do not personally consider it true that people are being put into some kind of trance that can create another world of perception for them. I think people are simply relinquishing skepticism to the point they refuse to doubt what is happening and comply to the best of their ability.
I was with you till the highlighted bit. Now I may have to side with Skeptic Ginger. Why would you doubt that? My mind puts me into "another world of perception" pretty much every night. If the mind can conjure up such real-seeming worlds when I'm asleep, why shouldn't it be able to when I'm awake? People can sleep-walk, sleep-talk, and even, frighteningly enough, sleep-operate-heavy-machinery.

I'll readily grant that popular ideas of hypnosis contain a lot of woo, stage hypnosis contains a lot of nonsense, and the Hollywood version of hypnosis is outright BS (like Hollywood versions of most things). Post-hypnotic suggestion is almost certainly less of a thing than the media suggest. And if it's analogous to dreaming, then it makes perfect sense that "recovering" false memories is easier than recovering buried or supressed memories. But I don't see how that leads to the conclusion that there is no trance or that the mind doesn't conjure worlds. In fact, the fact that attempts to recover buried memories with hypnosis seem more likely to create false ones suggests to me that conjuring worlds is very much like what's going on.

(And even for the recovering-memories thing, the Mythbusters, in their unscientific-but-skeptical way did seem to show some slight possibility that there's some truth there.)

I agree that a lot of it seems to boil down to people agreeing to go along. I just think that maybe agreeing to go along can go a little further than you seem to. There's enough woo associated with hypnotism that I'm always skeptical of particular claims, but there's also enough that seems perfectly plausible.

ETA: honestly, a lot of the debate here seems like splitting hairs.
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Old 9th May 2012, 02:36 PM   #63
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Damn.

No one is buying my crap, even at half-price.

i guess hypnotism is bogus.
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Old 9th May 2012, 02:43 PM   #64
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Empirical testing of hypnotic depth has been an elusive pursuit, it seems.

I built several quite sophisticated skin resistance measurement devices for a friend who was doing hypnosis for weight loss, smoking, etc. as a business. He seemed to think that the rise in skin resistance using finger electrodes was a good indication of depth of trance, but there is research to indicate this is likely not necessarily true.

Another metric that has been tried is the quantification of vagal tone.

Source:
Quote:
Spectral analysis of beat-to-beat variability in electrocardiography is a simple, noninvasive method to analyze sympatho-vagal interaction. The electrocardiogram is analyzed by means of an automatic, autoregressive modeling algorithm that provides a quantitative estimate of R-R interval variability by the computation of power spectral density. Two major peaks are recognizable in this specter: a low-frequency peak (LF, -0.1 Hz), related to the overall autonomic activity (ortho + parasympathetic) and a high-frequency peak (HF, -0.25 Hz), representative of the vagal activity. The LF/HF ratio is an index of the sympatho-vagal interaction. This technique was applied, using a computer-assisted electrocardiograph, to 10 healthy volunteers (6 high and 4 low hypnotizable subjects as determined by the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form C) in randomized awake and neutral hypnosis conditions. Preliminary results indicated thathypnosis affects heart rate variability, shifting the balance of the sympatho-vagal interaction toward an enhanced parasympathetic activity, concomitant with a reduction of the sympathetic tone. A positive correlation between hypnotic susceptibility and autonomic responsiveness during hypnosis was also found, with high hypnotizable subjects showing a trend toward a greater increase of vagal efferent activity than did low hypnotizables.
This seems to relate more to "susceptibility" than to depth of trance though. Back in the 80's I was involved in the development and manufacture of an invention by a psychology professor of a device that could do non invasive real time measurements of this phenomenon, vagal tone, using a simple bitrode to pick up heart rate signals. He did some promising research on a few hypnotized subjects, but as I recall never published anything on the subject, concentrating more on various syndromes, SIDS, and ingestion of poisons such as those from crop dusting.

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Old 9th May 2012, 03:21 PM   #65
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Reply to the multiple doubting Thomases about my hysterical friend: it wasn't contrived. No matter how you choose to explain it, she believed she was on the ceiling and she did freak out. It wasn't fake. And no one faking it would have chosen that reaction. She giggled when she was told she didn't have any clothes on. A person just playing along for whatever reason would have said something like, "get me down" or "how did I get up here" or any number of other reactions. Freaking out was spontaneous. She had to have believed she was on the ceiling.

That doesn't mean I think hypnosis is magical or that you can tell people anything. I don't know the limits of it but I assume there much be some.

I suspect it is something like dreaming. I once had a vivid dream that I could hear something scratching behind a door. I got closer and closer to it. It was as real as dreams get. Then I woke up and my dog was scratching at the door to be let in. I was the last person in the house still in bed and she wanted on the bed.

The point is, to my brain the door and the scratching were real. And I was incorporating sounds from the actual environment into the dream. It's not that hard to imagine a mechanism where people go into a sleep-like state of consciousness. Just because some can't do it doesn't mean no one can. There are many things some individuals can do and not others.

I was surprised how many people are skeptical of hypnosis. No one that saw my friend freak out that day would doubt it for a minute.
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Old 9th May 2012, 03:31 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by Halfcentaur View Post
You seem to not be aware of how those stage shows work, often. In that situation people are merely pretending for the benefit of the audience through something akin to peer pressure and a desire to let the ego go and be controlled or experience something strange.

Derren Brown has some great shows on this, where he takes people with no history or training in hypnosis, he has them take people up on stage, and people go right along with whatever the person says. Penn and Teller also have a BS episode on the matter which sheds a little light on it. It's not conclusive, but it sure demonstrates how silly those stage shows are.

Hypnosis has results, so does the placebo effect. I do not personally consider it true that people are being put into some kind of trance that can create another world of perception for them. I think people are simply relinquishing skepticism to the point they refuse to doubt what is happening and comply to the best of their ability.

In this sense, hypnotism is real, but it's just another word for things most people would not consider hypnotism in my opinion.

I don't appreciate it being implied I am somehow digging my heels in about this. I am straining to be honestly open to the evidence presented.
You seem to be more a victim of confirmation bias on this to me. You are, at a minimum, ignoring the objective brain research on hypnosis. You see someone under hypnosis and you declare it's fake. I saw someone freak out and "fake" was about as likely as reading the guy cussing you out and flipping you off as being pleased with something.
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Old 9th May 2012, 04:38 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Reply to the multiple doubting Thomases about my hysterical friend: it wasn't contrived. No matter how you choose to explain it, she believed she was on the ceiling and she did freak out. It wasn't fake.
To those doubting Thomases about my friend who was possessed, it wasn't contrived. No matter how you choose to explain it, he absolutely believed that he was possessed by Satan and he did speak in tongues, and in an unnaturally loud and harsh tone of voice. It wasn't fake.
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Old 9th May 2012, 04:45 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
I find this situation odd. I would never have turned my back on a subject, ever.

When I said "behind his back," I was speaking metaphorically. As far as I remember, the magician never actually fully turned his back on us. But there were somewhere between 5 and 10 of us up there on the stage at one time, and between issuing commands to us and making side comments to the audience, the dude could hardly keep an eye on all of us every second of the time.


Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
I mentioned a few ways of determining when a subject was "faking" hypnosis, but I think what needs to be said here is that after going through very subtle tests to determine if he is in fact under hypnosis, the subject may actually be trying to behave in a manner expected of him in order to please the operator (hypnotist). Yes, no question that this is definitely possible...

I'm saying it is not only "possible," but that it is definitely what's going on in at least some number of cases, because I myself was doing that very thing when I was on stage, and so were a few of the other "subjects" I was up there with.


Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
...however I have tried to imagine a situation where I had chosen several potentially good subjects, and discovered any of them actually putting me on, or actively trying to deceive me. This is not something I myself have ever experienced, but I guess it is possible.

The fact that you've been so disinclined to even consider this very obvious possibility seems to indicate to me that your approach to the subject has not been altogether critical.


Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
In all cases where I felt they were not sufficiently deep in the trance, I merely asked them to wake up and moved on to the others.

That's essentially what my hypnotist guy did, once he saw that some of us weren't playing it up to his satisfaction. It actually didn't take him long to notice there was a "fly in the ointment," maybe a few minutes after he had us all up there and was able to pay attention to us as a group.

Perhaps you don't realize how easily fooled you can be.

I'd like to point out that from the time I was called on to take the stage, I was fully willing to along with the show and play-act along with the magician's "suggestions." But when the other guy sitting next to me started "taking the piss" so to speak, I couldn't help but laugh. Suddenly it became more fun to just goof off.


Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
There are just too many details that a person would have to know in order to pull off a deceptive trance state.

What kinds of "details" might these be?


Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
I have not heard any good evidence that hypnosis is BS just yet.

So you're saying you believe in it because it hasn't been disproven?


Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
I think there are excellent subjects, mediocre ones, and those who just never will be hypnotized, like myself for instance.

So you've never been hypnotized, so you can't explain what happens under hypnosis, yet you believe you possess this extraordinary influence over the minds of others?

How is that approach any different from the self-professed psychics who can't explain how they've come to possess extraordinary powers, yet they refuse to consider the notion that they might be wrong about their claims?


Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
The excellent ones can be given a post hypnotic suggestion that a single word can induce the hypnotic state. I have done this many, many times. In fact, on several occasions, I tried the so called "zap" method. The subject, fresh out of an audience, is told to close his/her eyes, and told they cannot open them...try hard to open your eyes, etc. If he cannot, then just touch the shoulder, and say, "You are deeply asleep..." It worked once for me.

I'm sorry, but that just sounds like BS to me.


Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
I read a fair amount about hypnosis many years ago, and lost interest at some point, but as I mentioned, there was a common thread that seemed to me to join all the really excellent subjects. Something like "outgoing, good listener, smiles a lot, not afraid to be touched," all kinds of things in this vein. It became kind of a sixth sense for me when choosing subjects. It was honestly a lot of fun, because people seemed to enjoy being hypnotized.

Did you never stop to consider that all those traits might just as well be indicative of individuals who are especially enthusiastic about willingly playing along with the game, in the manner of religious rituals, tarot card readings, and spiritualist seances?
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Old 9th May 2012, 05:12 PM   #69
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Quote:
What kinds of "details" might these be?
In my experience, I found that generally if I hold a waking person's arm outstretched, and say nothing, then release it, the arm will stay outstretched. If the person is sufficiently deep in a trance for suggestions to work, the arm will likely just fall into his lap.

Suggesting that the outstretched arm is rigid to the hypnotized subject results in a quite rigid arm, which when one presses down on it will not reflexively rise very much, whereas in the "faker", it pops up right away when released.

Some subjects have a sort of quivering of the eyelids when hypnotized. The head generally drops from upright, as if the subject is sleeping. Challenging the subject to try to open his eyes produces a very characteristic pattern in the eyelids in the hypnotized subject. Of course, the pain test, pressing on the cuticle at the base of the fingernail with my thumbnail produces no flinching in the hypnotized subject. ETA: providing I have suggested that the hand was numb.

Speech of the hypnotized subject is very sluggish, compared to the waking person with eyes closed.
ETA: The subject in a trance will not move his arms or legs to get into a more comfortable position, generally. He can be practically falling off the chair and still not move to get upright.

I certainly may have been fooled, but that would be sort of pointless since almost every subject came to me out of some curiosity. It's sort of like someone asking me to help them find their keys, then later telling me it was just a joke, their keys are not really lost.

What I have written is the best of my recollection, and I have no need to achieve the acceptance of anyone. I understand that the straw man that seems to be at issue is whether hypnosis is "magic" or "paranormal". It's kind of frustrating to wind up in a discussion like that. I would recommend that those who think there is nothing to hypnosis actually do some reading on the subject.

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Old 9th May 2012, 05:36 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
I certainly may have been fooled, but that would be sort of pointless since almost every subject came to me out of some curiosity.

You mean like a person who attends a seance out of curiosity about hearing ghosts?


Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
It's sort of like someone asking me to help them find their keys, then later telling me it was just a joke, their keys are not really lost.

I'd say it's more like a person with an esoteric belief, who's seeking reinforcement that their belief is true.


Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
I understand that the straw man that seems to be at issue is whether hypnosis is "magic" or "paranormal". It's kind of frustrating to wind up in a discussion like that. I would recommend that those who think there is nothing to hypnosis actually do some reading on the subject.

I never said that hypnosis was "magic" or "paranormal."

Please don't use that old ad hominem that anyone who disagrees with you doesn't know what they're talking about. I've read quite a bit about hypnosis. I've performed hypnosis (in group hypnosis sessions where people paired up and hypnotized each other). And unlike yourself, who (by your own admission) have never been hypnotized, I've been hypnotized numerous times and used to practice self-hypnosis on a daily basis.

From my own firsthand experience, I'm entirely convinced that the majority of stage hypnosis techniques are no more than a consensual role-playing act, and the rest consists of stage magic trickery. I'm also firmly convinced that the "instant induction" stuff is total and complete BS.

However, I'd definitely be willing to collaborate on devising a test, if you'd like to work out an objective, controlled, double-blind experiment to examine the validity of those kinds of practices. I've made the same offer to another self-described hypnotist here on this forum, and he eagerly agreed to collaborate on putting together a test. Then he suddenly performed a disappearing act from the thread, before we'd even started getting down to discussing the actual procedure. That was several months ago and I haven't seen or heard a thing from him ever since.
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Old 9th May 2012, 05:41 PM   #71
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From my own firsthand experience, I'm entirely convinced that the majority of stage hypnosis techniques are no more than a consensual role-playing act, and the rest consists of stage magic trickery. I'm also firmly convinced that the "instant induction" stuff is just BS.
Could be I guess. I can't quite get why you seem so upset.
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Old 9th May 2012, 05:45 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Olowkow View Post
I can't quite get why you seem so upset.

I can't quite get why you'd seem to think I'm upset.

No worries.
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Old 9th May 2012, 05:50 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by John Albert View Post
I can't quite get why you'd seem to think I'm upset.

No worries.
Well good. I'm glad to find another hypnotist here. I have not done it in many years, and really never did stage stuff except a few times with a friend who was into that.

I was not referring to you when I spoke of the straw man stuff, just some others here who keep calling it magic or something, I get bored with such posts.

I'd like to hear more about your experiences with hypnosis.
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Old 9th May 2012, 06:16 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by MarkCorrigan View Post
To those doubting Thomases about my friend who was possessed, it wasn't contrived. No matter how you choose to explain it, he absolutely believed that he was possessed by Satan and he did speak in tongues, and in an unnaturally loud and harsh tone of voice. It wasn't fake.
If he was a schizophrenic, he very well did believe that. You are confusing a couple things here.

The cause of what the person believed, whether they actually believed it or were pulling your leg, and the actual factual nature of the belief are not the same thing. Teri was not on the ceiling. I'm certainly not saying that. But her reaction was not faked.

You friend could have been pulling your leg, I don't know him but I'm guessing you know whether he was truly believed the delusion or whether he was faking it.
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Old 9th May 2012, 06:26 PM   #75
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For me, hypnosis has always required a large degree of concentration, but once I was in the right frame of mind I'd be able to experience strange sensations and visualizations with great clarity. But at no time did I ever feel willing or able to completely give myself over to another person's suggestions, nor did I ever lose control of my own thoughts or feel unable to emerge from that state at any moment of my choosing. If somebody asked me a question while I was under hypnosis, I would be able to hear them just fine and would respond normally unless I was decidedly trying to block them out.

Sometimes while doing self-hypnosis I would explore some darker areas of my feelings, like imagining myself in some arbitrary hopeless or perilous situation. For example, I visualized myself standing in the middle of a long, high bridge across a deep mountain crevasse, and suddenly noticing that the bridge was beginning to collapse. I saw the supports disintegrate and felt the roadway rumble beneath my feet as the collapse progressed towards me, and actually felt a bit of an adrenaline rush in the knowledge that my own death was immediately at hand. But I never felt any genuine fear; it was really more of just a thrilling imaginary situation I was playing out in my own mind. Usually, I would do that kind of thing right at the end of my meditation session, because it would leave me feeling somewhat invigorated instead of sluggish and sleepy.
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Old 9th May 2012, 06:30 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Sample size of one, I'd keep that in mind.
How big was your sample, again?

By sample I mean your sister.

ETA: quarky, do you have any more crap for sale? I'm all out.
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Old 9th May 2012, 07:38 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Howie Felterbush View Post
How big was your sample, again?

By sample I mean your sister.

ETA: quarky, do you have any more crap for sale? I'm all out.
It was a friend, not sister. My brother was the hypnotist. But I digress.

In some cases like ruling something in, it only takes one. We don't need to find life in more than one ET planet or moon to prove we are not alone.

In other cases such as drawing broad generalizations, or ruling something out, then a sample size of one will not do.
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Old 9th May 2012, 10:59 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
You seem to be more a victim of confirmation bias on this to me. You are, at a minimum, ignoring the objective brain research on hypnosis. You see someone under hypnosis and you declare it's fake. I saw someone freak out and "fake" was about as likely as reading the guy cussing you out and flipping you off as being pleased with something.
I'm not sure why, but there seems to be a massive disconnection between what I am saying to you and what you are hearing. In what way have I ignored brain research? I have admitted there are tangible results I've seen suggested, and have admitted I am not decided on the matter.

And for you to think I am saying someone is "faking" something demonstrates you are not actually thinking about the process I am describing. When a person has a heart attack from being scared of something they imagined, they aren't faking anything. They are under the impression something is happening and reacting to what they think is happening.

I am not proposing the girl you keep referencing in your anecdote was attempting to deceive anyone. I am proposing that she was acting like what she thought a person would act like in her situation based on her expectations.

Self delusion is not "faking" something in the sense you are paraphrasing. It's fake to you and me because we know it is fake. That you continually demonstrate an inability to recognize any of the distinctions I am proposing suggests to me that you are not willing to apply skepticism to the process we're discussing.

What are you proposing hypnosis is? I think I have a good theory on what it is, but I am not sure.

Do you think there is a correlation between the success rate of hypnosis and the amount of skepticism a subject demonstrates? Why are you defending this girl based on her innocence and honesty and not her lack of skepticism or cynicism?
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Old 10th May 2012, 02:18 AM   #79
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Seems to me that anyone claiming "hypnotism is just..." isn't being skeptical because there is an ongoing scientific debate as to its nature. So we're not sure exactly what it is yet.
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Old 10th May 2012, 03:00 AM   #80
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
If he was a schizophrenic, he very well did believe that. You are confusing a couple things here.

The cause of what the person believed, whether they actually believed it or were pulling your leg, and the actual factual nature of the belief are not the same thing. Teri was not on the ceiling. I'm certainly not saying that. But her reaction was not faked.

You friend could have been pulling your leg, I don't know him but I'm guessing you know whether he was truly believed the delusion or whether he was faking it.
Read Mark's post again. Your friend believed she was hypnotized; his friend believed he was possessed. The similarities are apt.
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