I was going to title todays small blog entry “does hypnosis exist?” but some may find that title too provocative and people have asked that question long before me. I was not scheduled to actually write a blog entry today as I have a packed diary today, but I thought I’d share another snippet with you today.

Having this week read Hypnosis and suggestibility: An experimental approach by Clark Hull, written way, way back in 1933, I thought I’d share with you a conclusion he arrived at within that work:

No phenomenon whatever can be produced in hypnosis that cannot be produced to lesser degrees by suggestions given in the normal waking condition. The essence of hypnosis lies in the fact of change in suggestibility” (Hull, 1933, p.391).

This was the start of the end for state theorists (those that think hypnosis is an altered state). Later on in the 1960s Ernest Hilgard and André Weitzenhoffer developed the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scales which became central to much research on suggestibility over the years. Funnily enough, Hilgard initially believed in hypnosis being an altered state and was greatly interested in how people responded to hypnosis as an altered state.

However, working with the scales over the years and within much research, it became known that all the phenomenon that individuals were tested for within the Stanford Scales tests, could be achieved without hypnosis – therefore hypnosis could not be the means by which they were produced.

Yet Hull had already covered this back in 1933. At the time he also stated that when a formal hypnotic induction was used to hypnotise individuals, the increase in the level of suggestibility was actually negligible and certainly far less than people would expect. This was supported by Barber in the 1960s where he showed again that suggestions for altered experience and behaviour were just as effectively produced by nonhypnotic instructions.

No big exploration today, no conclusions, just an observation and fabulously forward thinking quote.

So if you ever want to really know who slayed  hypnosis inductions… Look no further than Clark Hull.

Have a great weekend.


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