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Hypno Fact #7 – Perceptions manipulated by expectations

In a recent experiment reported in the New York Times, subjects were given the post-hypnotic suggestion that they would see english words appear as gibberish as if in a foreign language. They were then put in a brain scanner and asked to perform the “Stroop task” involving reading out aloud the colour of a word but not the text. For example, seeing a the word Red printed in blue, would require the subject to say “Blue”.

Raz et al. (2002) studied both highly suggestible and low suggestible participants after using a post-hypnotic suggestion that told them they would have difficulty reading the words. Results showed that the highly suggestible participants were better able to process the incongruent examples of the Stroop test. It was also concluded that the post-hypnotic suggestion does not alter vision; for example, it does not cause blurring or tell the participant to focus on a different location (MacLeod & Sheehan, 2003).

In a separate study, Raz et al. (2005) studied the Stroop effect on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electrical scalp recordings (ERPs). The resulting brain images showed that when participants had received a post-hypnotic suggestion, there was less conflict-related activity in the anterior cingulate cortex area of the brain.

(Source: MacLeod, C.M. & Sheehan, P.W. (2003). Hypnotic control of attention in the Stroop task: A historical footnote. Consciousness and Cognition, 12(3), 347-353.
Raz, A., Shapiro, T., Fan, J., & Posner, M. I. (2002). Hypnotic suggestion and the modulation of Stroop interference. Archives of General Psychiatry, 59, 1155-1161.
Raz, A., Fan, J., Posner, M. I. (2005). Hypnotic suggestion reduces conflict in the human brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102, 9978-9983.


Hypno Fact #8 – Hypnotised Clients lose 90% more weight

Researchers analyzed 18 studies comparing a cognitive behavioural therapy such as relaxation training, guided imagery, self monitoring, or goal setting with the same therapy supplemented by hypnosis. Those who received the hypnosis lost more weight than 90 percent of those not receiving hypnosis and maintained the weight loss two years after treatment ended.
(Source: University of Connecticut, Storrs Allison DB, Faith MS. Hypnosis as an adjunct to cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy for obesity: a meta-analytic reappraisal. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996;64(3):513-516.).

Hypno Fact #9 – Losing Weight with Hypnosis is 77 times more effective

A scientific study investigating the effects of hypnosis in weight loss for a group of 60 overweight females, was conducted in 1986. Treatment included group hypnosis with metaphors for ego-strengthening, decision making and motivation, ideomotor exploration in individual hypnosis, and group hypnosis with maintenance suggestions.

The study found that hypnosis was more effective than a control group: an average of 7.7kgs lost by the hypnosis group vs. an average of 0.22 kgs lost by the control group, on follow-up.
(Source: Cochrane, Gordon; Friesen, J. (1986). Hypnotherapy in weight loss treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 54, 489-492.)

Hypno Fact #10 – Highly Susceptible Versus Low Susceptibility.

Scientific Research into Hypnosis has shown that people fall into 2 categories; High Susceptibility and Low Susceptibility, mainly due to a structural difference in the brain.

A 2004 study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia revealed that highly hypnotisable client, on average, sported a 31.8% larger rostrum, a part of the brain involved in the allocation of attention and transfer of information between prefrontal cortices.
(Source: Brain. 2004 Aug;127(Pt 8):1741-7. Epub 2004 Jul 1.)

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About the Author:
Shane is the co-founder, CEO and Head trainer for Australian Success Academy, having trained and worked with over 6000 people around Australia in learning the incredible power of the human mind, ranging from Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Public Speaking.