Hypnosis Spot ResearchFor many years skeptics have claimed that people in hypnosis have been play acting. However, scientists have now proven that hypnosis changes your mind.

 In February 2002 the first conclusive scientific proof that hypnosis produces clear changes in the mind was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference.

Professor David Spiegel of Stanford University School of Medicine in California and his team conducted study eight subjects who were hypnotised. Using a special scanning technique called positron emission tomography (PET) which measures blood flow to the brain, they were able to examine changes within them and prove hypnosis.

When subjects were shown a black and white image and asked to imagine it as colour, there were increases in blood flow to that area of the brain that processes colour vision. When the experiment was reversed with coloured images and the subjects imagined them as black and white, there was a decrease while activity in the area that processes gray scale images increased.

“Under hypnosis, believing is seeing,”

Professor Spiegel said “When people believe there is colour in the picture, their brains process the colour even if it isn’t there. They are not just telling you what you want to hear: the way their brains respond to the information is actually being changed.”

He added: “Hypnosis has been something like the oldest profession: everyone is interested in it but no one wants to be seen in public with it.”

Spiegel’s findings demonstrate that hypnosis has biological as well as psychological effects, disproving the skeptics and supports the application of hypnosis in a medical setting such as pain free surgery.

“There is faith and belief, and then there’s science,” he said. “This is scientific evidence that something unusual happens in the brain that doesn’t happen ordinarily. There has been a whole school of argument that hypnosis is nothing more than an exaggerated form of social compliance. This is evidence that they are not just telling you what they think you want to hear. They are actually perceiving things differently. That is a very important lesson.”

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