Trance stare led researchers to discover a genuine hypnotic state

October 28, 2011

An international team of researchers have found the existence of a genuine hypnotic state. The researchers studied the 'trance stare', a glazed look in the eyes that has often been associated with hypnosis in the popular culture but rarely studied scientifically. These findings have major implications for psychology and neurosciences, as they confirm the existence of a novel mental state in humans.

The study focussed on healthy adult who is known to be highly susceptible to hypnosis, and is known to respond immediately to hypnotic suggestion. Her eye movements during hypnotic and waking state were measured with a special eye tracker. When she entered hypnosis, her eyes became glazed and her blinking date was significantly reduced. Even more importantly, hypnosis induced dramatic reduction in eye movements that are beyond volitional control in healthy adults. None of thirty tested control subjects could mimic these changes in eye movement patterns volitionally, which underlies that hypnosis does indeed involve an altered mental state which is associated with cognitive and motor changes far beyond our volitional control. The study was carried out by a team of researchers from Aalto University, University of Turku (Finland) and University of Skövde (Sweden).

Hypnosis has had a long and controversial history in psychology, psychiatry and neurology. For the past hundred years, researchers have debated whether or not hypnosis really involves an altered mental state unlike the normal wakeful condition, or whether it simply reflects a cognitive state similar to those occurring outside hypnosis. Up to date, there has been no reliable way for determining whether a person is actually hypnotized or simply faking or simulating hypnosis. Consequently, many researchers have considered the special, altered hypnotic state as a popular myth in psychology.
-end-


Aalto University

Related Psychology Articles from Brightsurf:

More than one cognition: A call for change in the field of comparative psychology
In a paper published in the Journal of Intelligence, researchers argue that cognitive studies in comparative psychology often wrongly take an anthropocentric approach, resulting in an over-valuation of human-like abilities and the assumption that cognitive skills cluster in animals as they do in humans.

Psychology research: Antivaxxers actually think differently than other people
As vaccine skepticism has become increasingly widespread, two researchers in the Texas Tech University Department of Psychological Sciences have suggested a possible explanation.

In court, far-reaching psychology tests are unquestioned
Psychological tests are important instruments used in courts to aid legal decisions that profoundly affect people's lives.

Psychology program for refugee children improves wellbeing
A positive psychology program created by researchers at Queen Mary University of London focuses on promoting wellbeing in refugee children.

Psychology can help prevent deadly childhood accidents
Injuries have overtaken infectious disease as the leading cause of death for children worldwide, and psychologists have the research needed to help predict and prevent deadly childhood mishaps, according to a presentation at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association.

Raising the standard for psychology research
Researchers from Stanford University, Arizona State University, and Dartmouth College used Texas Advanced Computing Center supercomputers to apply more rigorous statistical methods to psychological studies of self-regulation.

Psychology: Robot saved, people take the hit
To what extent are people prepared to show consideration for robots?

Researchers help to bridge the gap between psychology and gamification
A multi-disciplinary research team is bridging the gap between psychology and gamification that could significantly impact learning efforts in user experience design, healthcare, and government.

Virtual reality at the service of psychology
Our environment is composed according to certain rules and characteristics which are so obvious to us that we are scarcely aware of them.

Modeling human psychology
A human being's psychological make-up depends on an array of emotional and motivational parameters.

Read More: Psychology News and Psychology Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.