Look into my eyes: The power of hypnosis
Posted by keelynet on October 20, 2009
I think there a lot of bizarre, interesting and possibly very useful phenomena associated with hypnosis.
“I think hypnosis is underaccepted and undervalued,” says psychologist Irving Kirsch at the University of Hull, UK. “Partly because of lurid tales published in books and movies, which lead to views of hypnosis as a strange and unbelievable state. Still many people scoff.”
Aside from improving the reputation of hypnosis, Oakley also aims to better understand some of the strangest neurological conditions out there. The idea is to use hypnosis to induce symptoms in otherwise healthy people.
This creates “virtual patients” with symptoms that can literally be switched on and off with a snap of the fingers, making it easier to study the abnormal brain activity that causes them.
“It’s like reverse engineering,” says Peter Halligan, a neuropsychologist at Cardiff University, UK, who works with Oakley. “It’s only when things break down that you appreciate the mechanism involved.” For their experiments, Halligan and Oakley have focused on a range of rare and bizarre conditions.
They include hysterical blindness (the person cannot see but has no perceptible damage to their eyes or brain), hysterical paralysis (an inability to move a part of the body despite having no physical injury – the same limb may move while the person is asleep), prosopagnosia (an inability to recognise faces despite having good sight), alien limb syndrome (the feeling that an arm or leg is acting of its own accord), visual neglect (total lack of awareness of half of the visual field) and Capgras syndrome (a delusional belief that a loved one has been replaced by an imposter).
These are all conditions that the researchers believe can be recreated in healthy people using hypnosis. Many of them are somatoform disorders, in which people develop physical symptoms in the absence of an identifiable physical cause. All are rare, and when they occur it is often in people with other problems, such as depression or schizophrenia, making them hard to study.
Halligan and colleagues put 12 highly hypnotisable students under and then either suggested that their left leg was paralysed, or told them to merely pretend that their left leg was paralysed, with the promise of a reward if they managed to fool an investigator.
The investigators, unaware of which group the participants were in, couldn’t tell who was faking paralysis – until they saw scans of the volunteers brains. There were clear differences in brain activity. One of the brain areas that was highly active, or “lit up”, in the hypnotically paralysed volunteers was the right orbitofrontal cortex – a region thought to be involved with emotional inhibition, and which has also been seen to light up in hysterical paralysis.
Yann Cojan at the University of Geneva in Switzerland recently tried a similar experiment where volunteers’ left hands were “paralysed” by hypnosis. He and his colleagues also found that brain scans distinguished those under hypnotic suggestion from the fakers.” – Full Article Source.
For more information and learn how to do it, along with fascinating experiments, check out my 3 eBooks on one CD at Learn how to Hypnotize!.
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