I was wondering whether hypnosis is truly real.

How would you induce hypnosis in someone?

What actually happens when someone put somebody under hypnosis?

And why do movies show a loud snapping noise to cause the subject to come out of hypnosis?

Any info is appreciated.

IANAHypnotist but I understand that the nature of hypnosis is quite controversial. There seems to be consensus that it is certainly not what was depicted in Hollywood (swing a watch, “You’re getting sleepy”). There does seem to be some evidence that it is possible to be put in a mental state where you are more receptive to suggestion. This has been tossed around on this board before, you might try doing a search for old threads.

Threads that contained the word “hypnosis”. Not all of the threads will have answers for you, but this is the best way I could come up with to link to them all in a single link.

The page is a link to a search query, so may take a few moments to load.

Hypnosis is, in fact, a valuable tool for many things.

Not the hollywood version where they can make the"Battle of Bull Run"look like Errol Flynn at Pamplona.

In fact hypnosis has been used with success levels from utter failure to grand applause in some of the following:

Memory recall—amputations—cranial surgery–birth—habit correction—general surgery—stress reduction.

There are many other applications I’m sure.

Uniquely, the result of these is directly proportionate to the intelligence of the subject.

The more intelligent the paients are the more able they are to accept radical departures from “normal” procedures.

Are hypnotic procedures highly successful as a representative percentage-------no.

Can they be spectacular in success with things like habit control etc, or memory searches?----Yes.

The level of success is in the complete control of the patient-----who has the ability to accept or reject at any/all times.

NO practiotioner can ever make a subjet commit any act that is against their morality.

Or so I have been taught to believe

The smarter a person is, the more likely they are to accept unconventional treatments? That seems counterintuitive.

I know there is a correlation between hypnotizability and intelligence, but I’ve never heard this as the reasoning. As I understood it, an intelligent person is more likely to be susceptible to hypnosis because he or she is likely to have a better developed and vivid imagination and better communication skills. Because hypnosis consists of verbal suggestions, these traits are invaluable.

Do you have any source to back that up?

The memory-enhancement theory has a lot of critics.

Elizabeth Loftus, a leading researching of memory, debunks hypnosis as a memory aid.

Hypnosis is a state of heightened suggestibility. Thus it is easy to plant suggestions that affect the subject’s memory. One lab study, I believe in Loftus, found no improvements in accuracy of memories supposedly recalled under hypnosis. However, it did find that subjects displayed much more confidence in memories, even false or mistaken ones, after hypnosis.

For example, a subject saw a car run a stoplight. The hypnotist asked a question beginning something like, “After you saw the car run the stop sign…” The subject then adopted the memory of a stop sign rather than a stoplight.

The probability that I could recall my sources would be an excellent excercise of the subject at hand.

I am speaking from among the cobwebs in an octogenarian mind.

Where,or when ,I heard/learned those things lie behind the barriers erected by the scars of WW2 ,the depression which came before and a lot of living in and during the years up to now…

As to the question of others who might disagree--------

I only answered a question to the best of my ability,I didn’t solicit counter opinions,disputation or negative comments.

I forgot,momentarily, my life long awareness that “A closed mouth catches no flies”

No, but you posted on a public forum where countrary opinions are permissible. They seem especially permissible when one person offers speculation and someone else provides citations to experts.
You are on a discussion board. Not a “Nobody can reply to my posts” board.

Let he who NEVER speaks from opinion,speculation,or presumption undertake the spanking of others.

All and any of those who DO speak from such sources,even occasionally ,line up with the rest of us with their nether garments at half-staff.

One who generally challenges others only because of a need to be heard can easily find enough flexibility in language to do so in a gentlemanly manner.

As MacArthur said in Tokyo Bay-----these proceedings are closed!


When I was in high school (the 70s) a student in the year ahead of me had taken up hypnosis as a hobby. He gave a demonstration once for a class, and I took photos which later ran in the school’s yearbook.

He was able to get a student to lie rigid between two desks while “under” hypnosis. The student was even able to support, briefly, the weight of another student sitting on his belly. He was unable to repeat this when hypnosis was not being used.

Another student was unable, under ordinary conditions, to stand on his head. When he tried it while hypnotized, he still could not stand on his head. Then the hypnotist assured him that he was much better coordinated than he thought, and would be able to stand on his head. On his next try, he succeeded.

He also tried the “cloud men’s minds” business familiar to fans of the old Shadow radio program. A student, while “under” was told that another student had left the room. He was, in fact, standing next to him. When he was brought to normal consciousness he was asked if he knew where his classmate was. He said he did not, even when looking directly at him, but he sounded sort of groggy and confused as he said it.

Various explanations have been offered as to why some people are or are not susceptable to hypnosis. If the sample of students my friend tried it on over a period of a couple of years are at all representative, intelligence is not a clear determining factor; some very bright people could be readily hypnotized, and some others could not. So too some students who struck their classmates as comparative dullards hypnotized rather easily. As a WAG I would venture that it is a matter of personality, reflecting on how suggestable and trusting one is.

The question as to whether a person can be induced to do something contrary to their conscience is, I believe, a somewhat controversial one. I recall reading in a psychology textbook about an experiment where a soldier was induced to strike a superior officer. This was not something he would have been prone to do normally. The hypnotist, however, had convinced him that it was not a superior officer he was striking, but a spy in disguise. In effect, he acted against his conscience because he was convinced that he was doing something that was not against his conscience.

A question was asked about snapping fingers to “awaken” a subject. This is largely a Hollywood cliche, but it is one of many signalling techniques a hypnotist might employ. My high school friend, for instance, used to simply count to a prescribed number to rouse a subject.

I thought my response was gentlemanly. YMMV.

As for the implication I spoke only because of a need to be heard, I beg your leave to differ, sir. Hypnosis-enhanced memories have been allowed in U.S. courtrooms. Given that studies show the techique to be unreliable, there are serious consequences. A witness claims to have a memory that may have been falsely influenced by hypnotic suggestion. The witness gives faulty testimony, and the innocent are convicted or the guilty go free.

Once more—and for the LAST time----- I will continue this silly business.

I posted a reply to one wtyd666 presenting those things that I thought would answer some of the points he[?] raised.

At NO time was the issue raised regarding the negative results of incompetent operators.

Neither was any reference made about the possible influence on testimony that could be the result of some pre-trial preparation.

As a matter of fact my remarks in no way were presented as absolutes.[Excuse that grammatical error]

To say that an “open Forum” endows one with the right to interfere in an otherwise peaceful conversation is like saying that one must only whisper opinions on any subject while sitting at a restaurant table with his wife.

Enough sir!

I only ask that if you ever again see my name in a Q&A session-----SPARE ME

I read Eztrete’s use of “procedures” as “mental processing” rather than choice of treatment. A more intelligent* person would have more creativity, and be able to put themselves more into the situation being prompted by the hypnotist.

I have seen some spectacular performances of stage hypnosis, at least. There was a performer who came to my college a couple of times, and a friend of mine was apparently an ideal subject. JL really got into it, at one point having to be stopped prematurely. The guys in the group on stage were told they were Chippendale dancers (they had already lost their shirts due to a “you’re basking on a beach” suggestion), and when JL took of his belt he had to be stopped :slight_smile:

A year or so later when the hypnotist came back and asked for volunteers, JL gladly went up again. The hypnotist’s “Oh I remember you” was classic.

  • for some definitions of “intelligent”

Anyone else think Ezstrete is having us on?

I am skeptical of this because it runs counter to what I learned and counter to reputable cites I’ve been able to dig up. If there is any truth to the anecdote, isn’t it possible that the soldier really did want to hit the officer on some level, one that he couldn’t acknowledge for obvious reasons? That "he wouldn’t be prone to (hit the officer) normally seems to me to be either an assumption or testimony from the soldier, and neither is a reliable indicator of one’s true desires.

I’d also like to point out that that hypnosis is primarily a relaxation method, you can demonstrate things using a hypnotizee that would appear to an audience to be amazing. You can make a person’s body react to suggested yet nonexistent stimuli, for example. You can also have them perform tricks (such as those funny ways of sitting on a desk or chair or stand on their heads). Their abilities aren’t so much a function of hypnosis’ effects, but a natural, existing ability to do so and the benefit of relaxation. Having the scrutiny of an audience is a great motivator as well.

I took a cue from the context. His previous sentence had been about hypnosis’ applications, so it made sense that he was talking about it as a treatment. Also, he spoke generally and didn’t really delve into the mechanics of hypnosis, so I assumed he meant it as I interpreted it. I’d like him to clarify this point, actually.

for Audreyk

At the risk of being accused of “having somebody on”—an expression I feel is very British,or at least anglophilic[?], I will refer these remarks to you.

I wrote of some applications of hypnosis that are therapeutic in nature ranging from memory jogs to radical surgery.

For instance ,as a layman ,I recall reading of hypnosis being used in battlefield injuries during the British campaigns in India,Burma and south Africa.

This was in the periods either before Ether or when Ether was in short supply.

The variations on hypnosis are many-------it can be exploratory, stress relieving,habit controlling and even ,vulgarly,show biz.

It can fail----even as medical procedures can fail.

The use of hypnosis,except on the stage, is generally an attempt by someone with the proper expertise to aid another who has some nature of problem.

As with medicine, the process can have little effect on an unwilling subject -----one who refuses to follow his doctor’s program for rfecovery.

I am VERY aware of the mechanics[?] of the process but those are too many to castoff in a simple letter.

Now,again, I want to put my participation in this matter to bed.

Thank you,one and all-----for listening to an old person who passed the 80 year milepost longer ago that I like to think.