Eye Don't Think Meditation Is Hypnosis
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Evidence For The Existence Of A Hypnotic State Found
Researchers have found evidence for the existence of a hypnotic state -- the key was in the glazed staring eyes
A multidisciplinary group of researchers from
Finland (University of Turku and Aalto University)
and Sweden (University of Skövde) has found that
strange stare may be a key that can eventually
lead to a solution to this long debate about
the existence of a hypnotic state.
One of the most widely known features of a hypnotized
person in the popular culture is a glazed, wide-open
look in the eyes. Paradoxically, this sign has not
been considered to have any major importance among
researchers and has never been studied in any detail,
probably due to the fact that it can be seen in only
some hypnotized people.
This study was done with a very highly hypnotizable
participant who can be hypnotized and dehypnotized
by just using a one-word cue. The change between
hypnotic state and normal state can thus be varied
The researchers used high-resolution eye-tracking
methodology and presented a set of well-established
oculomotor tasks that trigger automatic eye behavior.
They found the glazed stare was accompanied by
objectively measurable changes in automatic,
reflexive eye behavior that could not be imitated
by non-hypnotized participants.
In the field of hypnosis research this result means
that hypnosis can no longer be regarded as mental
imagery that takes place during a totally normal
waking state of consciousness. On the other hand,
the result may have wider consequences for psychology
and cognitive neuroscience, since it provides the
first evidence of the existence of a conscious state
in humans that has previously not been scientifically
Hypnosis has had a long and controversial history
in psychology, psychiatry and neurology. For over
100 years researchers have debated if a special hypnotic
state exists or whether it is just about using
cognitive strategies and mental imagery in a normal
waking state. So far, a hypnotic state has never
been convincingly demonstrated, and therefore,
many researchers regard the hypnotic state to be
just a popular myth in psychology.
Contacts and sources:
Academy of Finland
University of Skövde / University of Turk
The results were published in the journal PLoS ONE 24.10.2011.