A measure of belief

Discussions of new films, books, television shows, and media indirectly related to magic and magicians. For example, there may be a book on mnemonics or theatrical technique we should know or at least know about.

Postby Guest » 12/17/07 10:43 AM

Here is an informal discussion of an article on relatively non-invasive imaging the living human brain with a focus on the experience of belief.

And now we can finally find out if they really believe that card goes into the middle of the deck and whether or not the experience of belief is enhanced by asking them to estimate how many cards down into the pack their card is going.

This may be a good starting reference for magicians who are neither experienced interviewers or NLPers into the physiological aspects of subjective experience.
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Postby Guest » 12/17/07 01:09 PM

i wonder if this is the similiar to what
the brain looks like with hypnotismn.

i've always thought if you really
truly don't believe in it it don't work.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 12/17/07 01:45 PM

Research has shown that belief in hypnosis is irrelevant to its efficacy. However, you do have to be willing to commit to the process fully.
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Postby Bob Gerdes » 12/17/07 03:00 PM

Brad,
Do you have a reference for that research?
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 12/17/07 03:09 PM

I found the following in a Scientific American article from July 2001 which supports what Brad says:

A person's responsiveness to hypnosis also remains fairly consistent regardless of the characteristics of the hypnotist: the practitioner's gender, age and experience have little or no effect on a subject's ability to be hypnotized. Similarly, the success of hypnosis does not depend on whether a subject is highly motivated or especially willing. A very responsive subject will become hypnotized under a variety of experimental conditions and therapeutic settings, whereas a less susceptible person will not, despite his or her sincere efforts. (Negative attitudes and expectations can, however, interfere with hypnosis.)

Several studies have also shown that hypnotizability is unrelated to personality characteristics such as gullibility, hysteria, psychopathology, trust, aggressiveness, submissiveness, imagination or social compliance. The trait has, however, been linked tantalizingly with an individual's ability to become absorbed in activities such as reading, listening to music or daydreaming.
(Emphasis added)

Link: The Truth and the Hype of Hypnosis, by Michael R. Nash, Scientific American Magazine - July, 2001 (The quoted paragraphs appear at the beginning of the second page.)

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 12/17/07 04:13 PM

Funny, I just read that article this morning before I read Brad's post.

I also watched Penn & Teller's Bullsh!t episode on Hypnosis:

http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/68147/detail/

Proponents of hypnotism regular cite "evidence" but rarely cite any significant scientific studies (without bias) that back up the claims.

It seems to me that some people need "permission" to lose weight, quit smoking, even to achieve orgasm!

Where are the studies in the New England Journal of Medicine (or any other non-hypnosis friendly journal) that bear out the claims and provide hard quantitative data that prove the efficacy of hypnosis to truly "cure" people of what ails 'em?

Heck, I'd be happy to see the hypnotist community actually come to an agreement of just "what" hypnotism "is"...

I like Brad, and admire his thinking, but I have to ask, what exactly does this mean:

Research has shown that belief in hypnosis is irrelevant to its efficacy. However, you do have to be willing to commit to the process fully.
Some would say that you can't fully commit *to* the process unless you believe *in* the process. Substitute "commit to" with "believe in" and you have two contradictory statements.

Of course, one can commit to the thought that UFOs, Bigfoot and the Yeti exist, but that doesn't mean that they do. Only rational proof of existence separate reality from the supernatural... Then again, hypnotism is often about wish fulfillment.

Still an open (and not very sleepy) mind...

ajp
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Postby Guest » 12/17/07 04:21 PM

How many hypnotists does it take to change a light bulb?

Just one, but the light bulb has to want to change...

:)
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Postby Guest » 12/17/07 05:50 PM

Originally posted by once a magician:
How many hypnotists does it take to change a light bulb?

Just one, but the light bulb has to want to change...

:)
How many magicians does it take?

Twenty. One to change it, 19 to say how much better they would have done it.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 12/17/07 06:04 PM

Feeling distracted with thoughts of hypnotizing a lightbulb?
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Postby Brad Henderson » 12/17/07 10:05 PM

I am a stage hypnotist, but I think 99% of the claims made by hypnotists as to what is possible and how it works are utter [censored] (and no, there is no study to back up that statistic).

And I too am highly skeptical of almost any "claim" made by a hypnotist, especially if it seems to make what we do appear rarefied or special.

The article I referred to was (I believe) in a popular psychology or science magazine. I remember picking it up in an airport because of the blurb on the cover. It referenced a study that had been recently released. This came out maybe 3 years ago. I did not take notes, I just thought it was interesting.

Of course, you are right. If you are a complete "non-believer" chances are you will not commit to the process.

It is my experience that attitude can affect the success of one's participation if it gets in the way of the process. I perform a number of shows where people come back year after year for the chance to be hypnotized. These people WANT it. But it doesn't matter. It doesn't help. In fact, it can get in their way. They become so focused on "Is this working, am I doing it right?" they do not stay present in the process.

Likewise, I have had people come up who confess not to believe, but promised to try with an open mind. You should see the look of shock when they watch the video tape after the show.

There are many factors which can affect the success of someone's participation in an hypnosis program. However, my personal experience reveals that belief is not one of the critical factors - for or against - as long as it does not get in the way of their participation.

I know this is not a scientific observation. But when you're standing on stage, and you have to pick the ten people who are going to make or break your show, there's not a lot of practical science to hold your hand.

Having said that, my take on hypnosis (I am told) is different from most. I do not think it is some special oogi woogie state of mind. But I do think these people are performing/acting/reacting in a manner contrary to how they would normally. The hypnotists job is to lead them to the condition.

Brad
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Postby Guest » 12/18/07 03:42 AM

Originally posted by once a magician:
How many hypnotists does it take to change a light bulb?

Just one, but the light bulb has to want to change...

:)
How many magicians does it take?

Twenty. One to change it, 19 to say how much better they would have done it.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 12/18/07 03:43 AM

whoops double post
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 12/18/07 05:45 AM

Originally posted by mrgoat:
whoops double post
Looks like that imaginary light bulb has some magicians hypnotized quite effectively.

If you hear a voice in your head as your read text - guess what... you have been hypnotized and are in a trance. Enjoy your trance.
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