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Theory of Hypnosis

Todd I. Stark ToddStark at AOL.COM
Sun Sep 17 23:56:27 EST 2000

Some interesting speculations, though I don't follow it all.  I'm wondering,
what testable hypotheses does it generate for human beings ?  How do you
distinguish the essential variances in hypnotic phenomena; degrees of
trait-hypnotizability and degrees of organismic involvement ?  What lines of
evidence link the simulation to actual human behavior in hypnosis ?   Most
importantly, how does one know when they have successfully simulated
phenomena that are effectively subjective perceptions such as the perception
of involuntariness in tests of imaginative suggestibility ?
The papers don't seem to have too much specifically on these topics, unless
I missed something in skimming them ?

kind regards,


Mentifex <mentifex at my-deja.com> wrote in message
news:8pv87p$1oo$1 at nnrp1.deja.com...
> A theory of hypnosis is a by-product of a project in robot AI at
> http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/7256/hypnosis.html (q.v.):
> Hypnosis fits into the PD AI theory of mind in the following way.
> In a dream, a mind is ensconced within an isolated brain and has
> shut down the input sensorium of sensations from the external world.
> A dream is an associative vortex of memories reactivated during sleep
> and coagulating briefly into a novel experience which is itself
> recorded as an episode in the stream of consciousness -- whether
> or not the waking mind still has access to the memory of the dream
> after the sleeping mind awakens.
> Since the dreaming mind is dealing with its own ideas and not with
> the external sensations which are often incredible and untrustworthy,
> the dreamer automatically believes the dream and treats the events
> in the dream as real -- unless the dreamer is an adept at lucid
> dreaming and has developed the power of knowing that a dream is in
> progress, without waking up.  Normally, however, we accept everything
> told to us in a dream because we are the one telling it to us.
> To our dreaming selves, we are the ultimate authority.
> In hypnosis, however, we manage to fall asleep (or into a trance)
> without shutting down the pathway of the input sensorium of strong
> external sensations.  We experience a dream-like trance and we give up
> our sense of discretion and trust to what we take to be our own sacred
> and trustworthy consciousness but what is on the contrary another mind
> alien to our own:  the mesmerizing hypnotist.  If the hypnotist tells
> us that an umbrella or loaf of bread is a kitten, we conjure up from
> memory all the attributes of a kitten and we perceive the kitten
> because a seemingly trustworthy and ultimate authority has told us to
> do so.  Since the dream-like trance is normally made up of memories
> being re-activated anyway, we let the verbal suggestions of the
> hypnotist override the sensations from an external world that we
> exclude from our dreams during sleep.  Our dreams and trances are not
> centered around external events but around the associative vortex which
> turns old memories into a novel experience.  The hypnotist has snuck
> in, so to speak, to our own center of control of our semi-conscious
> processes and has begun to give orders as if we ourselves gave them.
> Perhaps in the trance posing as a dream we think that we are deciding
> to quit smoking after years of inhaling cigarette smoke, or perhaps
> we have decided to remember some obscure detail of forensic information
> needed in a courtroom.  For whatever reason, the hypnotist has achieved
> the proverbial Vulcan mindmeld with our non-waking consciousness and
> has become the proverbial homunculus orchestrating our consciousness.
> Logic dictates that we are in a dream where we normally believe
> everything that occurs and that therefore we will believe whatever is
> suggested to us by the hypnotist.
> Respectfully and sincerely submitted,
> Arthur T. Murray    mentifex at scn.org
> --
> http://wwww.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/7256/conscius.html Robot
> http://wwww.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/7256/dreams.html   Theory
> http://wwww.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/7256/emotion.html  of
> http://wwww.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/7256/sleep.html    Mind
> Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
> Before you buy.

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