From: EMMA FLETCHER (EJF195@psy.soton.ac.uk)
Date: Fri Nov 17 1995 - 10:20:44 GMT

Hypnotic Behaviour: A social psychological intrepretation of amnesia,
analgesia and trance logic.

( Behaviour and Brain Sciences, Volume 9, Number 3, September 1986)

  Can the hypnotic state really be seeen as being displayed through
unconcious, yet deliberate and responsive actions? The subject may
claim, and genuinely believe, that thier actions originated from an
inexplicable source; as explaination to why they carried out the
demands of the experimenter, or experienced sensory stimulation
remains unanswered in their minds. (But how can provide substancial
evidence to how and why we do anything)?

  Perhaps the central issue should be "does a hypnotic state exist?".
Is hypnotic behaviour really a responce to the mind's processing of
unconcious reasoning?

         "...genuine hypnotic responces are involentary phenomina
           rather than deliberate actions" p.449

  Do "amnesic barriers" really develop in the mind, or are the
subjects just highly suggestable, and thus influenced by the type of
words within the command sentances? The dominance that the
experimenter holds over the subject, may account for the extent to
which the subject responds to the suggestions. Similarly the
expectations, and preconceptions, held by the subject may have some
impact on the results, as self-induced, false experiences may result
due to the fact that the subject feels a need to fulfil the critera,
and please the experimenter. (The" fake good" factor). But this does
not resolve the question of whether the hypnotic state exists.

  Evidence may be seen to be questionable, as varification of
whether the hypnosis occured can only be truely substanciated by the
subject himself. What happens then if the subject KNOWS that he was
hypnotised, but really he only THINKS that he was? (e.g. I may
believe that I was in a hypnotic state, when really the phrasing used
lead me to believe that my reponse was due to "involentary phenomina
rather than deliberate actions" p449).

  However, how does this account for phenomina like hypnotic
analgesia? Would subjects allow themselves to be subjected to
potentially painful treatments if hypnosis was just a figment of their
imagination, implantedby a few words? Perhaps the withstanding of
pain may be accounted for in a similar way. i.e. Does the subject's
belief that he can suppress pain lead to pain suppression? Experiments
with "low sugestiblity" groups may be seeen to point towards this
explaination, although once again no clear evidence can be
submitted. Which leads us back to the question "Does a hypnotic state
exist ?"...


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