Stage hypnotists do dramatic shows in which they claim to put audience members into a trance, and often perform embarrassing activities (e.g., bark like a dog) of which they are not aware. It’s similar to a magic show, except the practitioner claims that the magic is real.
Others claim hypnosis can ease excruciating pain, or help one stop smoking.
The December/January issue of Scientific American MIND explores the allegedly altered state of hypnosis (not available online yet), presenting both the distinct brain activity present during hypnosis and the hypothesis that hypnosis has more to do with people’s suggestibility and expectations than the mental state itself.
What’s your take on hypnosis?