Theory of Hypnosis

Unit 4 UnitIV at
Sat Sep 16 15:58:16 EST 2000

Very pretty, but wrong as a football bat.

Get on PsychLit and Medline and look up Crawford, Helen J., ex-president of
the Society for Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis and APA's group 30.

Hypnosis is attentional and disattentional control directed in large part by
the anterior cingulate. It has little if anything to do with dream states.

On Sat, 16 Sep 2000 07:41:47 GMT, Mentifex <mentifex at> wrote, in

}A theory of hypnosis is a by-product of a project in robot AI at
} (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

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