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PseudoscienceThe Conspiracy Against Science$
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Allison B. Kaufman and James C. Kaufman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037426

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037426.001.0001

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Hypnosis: Science, Pseudoscience, and Nonsense

Hypnosis: Science, Pseudoscience, and Nonsense

Chapter:
(p.331) 15 Hypnosis: Science, Pseudoscience, and Nonsense
Source:
Pseudoscience
Author(s):

Steven Jay Lynn

Ashwin Gautam

Stacy Ellenberg

Scott O. Lilienfeld

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262037426.003.0015

In this chapter we present evidence garnered from the scientific literature to counter or refute prevalent yet mistaken beliefs about hypnosis (e.g., participants respond robotically, hypnosis is a sleep-like state, hypnosis greatly increases suggestibility). We discuss the robust influence of the media and stage hypnosis in perpetuating myths of hypnosis as a trance-like state, and we contend that research does not support the existence of a reliable marker (e.g., hypnotized participants respond literally, exhibit a greater tolerance for logical incongruity, and can override the optokinetic reflex) of a special state of consciousness uniquely associated with hypnosis. We further suggest that myths and misconceptions can have serious personal and social consequences and can be misused in forensic and psychotherapeutic consequences. Nevertheless, we also contend that there is accumulating evidence that hypnosis, when properly administered, may be helpful in the treatment of a number of psychological and medical conditions. Despite the myths and misconceptions surrounding hypnosis, the scientific study of hypnosis has advanced beyond hokum and pseudoscience to move hypnosis increasingly into the mainstream of psychological science.

Keywords:   hypnosis, trance, consciousness, psychotherapy

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