Emmaline Nelson Luethmers
Hypnotized? I don’t think so.
The beginnings of hypnosis can most often be traced back to the middle of the 18th century, when mental illness was first being recognized as stemming from psychological rather than organic causes.
Many people believe that to be hypnotized is to go into another state of consciousness. Nicholas Spanos, however, led an opposing view that showed hypnosis in a different light. He believes that hypnosis is nothing more than an increased degree of motivation to perform certain behaviors and can be explained fully without invoking the notions of a trance or an altered state.
Spanos and I are not going to tell you that hypnotism doesn’t exist, but we are going to give you the information that you need to make your own choice. I am not going to lie when I say that reading this article was not very enjoyable, but it opened my eyes to the facts of hypnotism and why people feel that they are hypnotized.
Spanos devoted nearly a decade of research prior to this 1982 article that I am telling you about know demonstrating how many of the effects commonly attributed to hypnotic trances could be explained just as easily (or even more easily) in less mysterious ways. I have read about three different studies done by Spanos himself, testing the ideas of hypnotizing a person, and I will tell you two of them.
First, Spanos referred to a study in which a lecture about hypnosis was given to two different groups. They were the same lecture but with one difference. One group was told that arm rigidity was an automatic event during hypnosis.
After the lecture both groups were hypnotized, and in the group told about the arm rigidity, some of the people exhibited this behavior, without any instruction to do so. In the other group, not one arm became rigid.
This demonstrates that people will enact their experience of hypnosis according to how they believe they are supposed to behave.
The other test was about...
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