The following is a comment I wrote to express the idea that hypnosis is a subject that has some degree of phenomena to observe and reproduce , but honestly most of the use and research on hypnosis that has occurred has been done in a manner that has not met scientific standards or used strict scientific method . To some psychologists and scientists the easiest thing to do has been to simply disbelieve hypnosis as anything other than a put on or play act or a placebo effect and meaningless scientifically . But dislike is not debunking , certainly not scientifically .
There are thousands of anecdotes of people acting against their personalities while under hypnosis . There is a wealth of evidence that hypnosis is not a put on or placebo effect including experiments that are reproducible for psychologists particularly regarding the Stroop effect .
I will quote an article below to show some effort to demonstrate hypnosis reality scientifically has begun , but it faces stiff resistance from many psychologists who frankly wish hypnotism would just go away and stay away .
The famous "Stroop Effect" is named after J. Ridley Stroop who discovered this strange phenomenon in the 1930s. Here is your job: name the colors of the following words. Do NOT read the words...rather, say the color of the words. For example, if the word "BLUE" is printed in a red color, you should say "RED". Say the colors as fast as you can. It is not as easy as you might think!
Why?The words themselves have a strong influence over your ability to say the color. The interference between the different information (what the words say and the color of the words) your brain receives causes a problem. There are two theories that may explain the Stroop effect:
- Speed of Processing Theory: the interference occurs because words are read faster than colors are named.
- Selective Attention Theory: the interference occurs because naming colors requires more attention than reading words.
- From the article :
Here is the title of an article on this and selected quotes :
Hypnotic suggestion can reduce conflict in human brain
A new study using an old, misunderstood technique -- hypnotic suggestion -- finds the brain can override responses experts have long assumed to be ingrained and automatic, such as reading.
Thousands of studies have found that Stroop interference is difficult to overcome under conventional conditions, because reading is so ingrained," said Dr. Amir Raz, who led the research while a Research Fellow of Psychology in Psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell University's Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology, in New York City. Dr. Raz is now Assistant Professor of Clinical Neuroscience at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute."We've always thought of the Stroop effect as almost automatic, and that's why this study is so important," he said. "Watching a participant's brain activity using both event-related potentials (ERP) and functional MRI (fMRI) during the Stroop test, we could see that not only was the brain's conflict-resolution center turned off as a result of hypnotic suggestion, but also those areas of the brain that may be involved in recognizing written words," Dr. Raz said.
The findings suggest that Stroop interference is not the automatic, immutable process experts have hitherto assumed it to be.
"This means that, using suggestion -- in this case post-hypnotic suggestion -- we were able to 'un-ring ' Pavlov's bell," Dr. Raz said.
In the study, Dr. Raz and co-researchers Drs. Jin Fan and Michael Posner used standard tests to identify healthy, "highly suggestible" individuals (experts believe that about 10-15 percent of us are particularly susceptible to hypnotic suggestion).
These individuals first took the Stroop test in practice sessions. Then, under ERP and fMRI observation, the participants underwent hypnotic induction. During this condition, Dr. Raz told participants that "Every time you hear my voice talking to you…you will immediately realize that meaningless symbols will appear in the middle of the screen."
"In other words, the symbols were placed in a special context where the simple English words 'Red' or 'Blue' in the Stroop test appeared as gibberish," Dr. Raz said.
The result: The Stroop effect disappeared. The power of suggestion essentially "de-automatized" the participant's reading response, causing them to view the words in the way a pre-lingual child or non-English-speaker might.
This removed the essential conflict that usually occurs within the brain during the Stroop test, allowing participants to identify the color of the characters on the screen as efficiently as if they were simple blocks of color.
"What's more, fMRI showed activity in exactly those brain regions important to the test – centers of attention like the anterior cingulated cortex and areas thought to relate to processing of visual word-form in the brain's occipital region," Dr. Raz said.
In my opinion hypnosis has never been as scientifically researched or validated as more mainstream science but it has not been disproven as some skeptics claim .
Being unproven is not the same as being disproven or debunked . I think hypnosis is part poor man's psychology of influence and part superstition . Hypnotists and many scientists will hate my answer but I believe it is the unpleasant truth .
I hope having the scientifically measurable and repeatable results from these experiments can force psychologists and neuroscientists to admit hypnosis is at least not disproven as mere superstition and worth examining and not dismissing out of hand .The fMRI results and changes in time to read items of conflicting messages ( the word with a color that disagrees with the word written ) are measurable repeatable phenomena which is what scientists need for testing and forming hypotheses.
Below is the answer I used to give to address the "hypnosis has no scientific validation " claim used to dismiss it automatically - now that can change with research that continues to develop.
As hypnotism is primarily a collection of metaphors to explain mental and behavioral phenomena it is beneath scientific standards but a rough or scientifically unpleasant subject does not cancel out any actual behaviors and phenomena that it tried to encompass . That is a variation of the fallacy fallacy. That is the idea that if an argument contains a fallacy or error in reason that does not disprove the conclusion of the argument or other concepts within it .
That is a fancy way to say some ideas in hypnotism may be true or part true but the subject is not compiled or presented in an entirely scientifically proven manner : a lot more research must be done to get conclusive answers .
For some research on the Stroop effect you can look here.