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Is hypnosis real?

Hypnosis is a psychological procedure for entering an altered state of consciousness, most notably one that is unusually open to suggestion. Hypnotherapy is used for psychotherapy or performance enhancement, while stage hypnosis is used for entertainment. The theatrical nature of stage hypnosis - whereby a member of an audience will believe and do anything - such as walking around clucking like a chicken - has caused some skeptics to doubt whether hypnosis is a real phenomenon at all.

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Experts and Influencers

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Experts In Science

Richard Feynman    Nobel Laureate in Physics
I thought, "Baloney!" She took a match, lit it, blew it out, and touched it to the back of my hand. It felt slightly warm. My eyes were closed throughout all of this, but I was thinking, "That's easy. She lit one match, but touched a different match to my hand. There's nothin' to that; it's a fake!" When I came out of the hypnosis and looked at the back of my hand, I got the biggest surprise: There was a burn on the back of my hand. Soon a blister grew, and it never hurt at all...
01 Jan 1985    Source

Experts In Literature

Tom Harris    Writer
Mostly Agree
In conventional hypnosis, you approach the suggestions of the hypnotist, or your own ideas, as if they were reality. If the hypnotist suggests that your tongue has swollen up to twice its size, you'll feel a sensation in your mouth and you may have trouble talking. ... If the hypnotist suggests that you are afraid, you may feel panicky or start to sweat. But the entire time, you are aware that it's all imaginary. Essentially, you're "playing pretend" on an intense level, as kids do.
01 Jan 2001    Source

Experts In Philosophy

Robert Todd Carroll    Philosophy Professor
Mostly Disagree
[The subjects] know they have roles to play and they reinforce each other by their performances. The hypnotist provides suggestions and the subject responds to the suggestions. The rest of the behavior—the hypnotist’s repetition of sounds or gestures, his soft, relaxing voice, snapping of fingers, counting backward from 10 to 1, and the trance-like pose or sleep-like repose of the subject—are just window dressing, part of the drama that makes hypnosis seem mysterious.
05 Jul 2011    Source

Experts In Entertainment

Derren Brown    Magician
What I do in my act is manipulate the surface in a similar way; there’s an illusion of power, of depth, and it’s quite convincing – but all you’re doing is manipulating people’s behaviour. Hypnosis is just a mixture of social conformity, suggestion, response expectancy, charisma, and a whole load of quite ordinary surface phenomena given a shorthand name.
01 Jul 2004    Source


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0 Points      Rdwlf      25 Apr 2012      Stance on Question: Mostly Disagree
Some people such as myself aren't capable of being "hypnotized," so I remain skeptical of it. I think it also might be memory manipulation, people who claim to be hypnotized say they don't remember what happened. Likely due to bad subconscious memory (people who don't remember dreams or even being half asleep) because they were just "tired." They also might just be acting up on purpose because they know they can get away with it.

0 Points      Excelsior      03 Mar 2012      Stance on Question: Agree
I have experienced this personally.

1 Point      Kozmo      13 Dec 2011      Stance on Question: Agree
The whole thing works in a simple way. Hypnosis can induce a deeply relaxed altered state of conscious awareness. This is a special condition of consciousness. Speaking specifically, you reach a serene state of consciousness, which can be compared to the feeling that we have just before we fall asleep. Reaching such a state of great relaxation is called hypnosis. This state allows the hypnotherapist to deliberately access the subject’s subconscious mind.

Like at that point when your almost asleep when someone is talking to you. You suddenly awake believing it was part of a dream. So relaxed that you could have been hypnotized!