Theory of Hypnosis

Mentifex mentifex at
Sun Sep 17 12:23:16 EST 2000

In followup discussion, "Unit 4" wrote on Sun, 17 Sep 2000:

> On Sun, 17 Sep 2000 02:17:55 -0400, "Dwayne Conyers"
> <dwacon at> wrote, in alt.mindcontrol:

>} Mentifex <mentifex at> wrote in message
>} news:8pv87p$1oo$1 at
>}> Normally, however, we accept everything told to us
>}> in a dream because we are the one telling it to us.

>} I don't believe this is true.  Many things can
>} influence a dream and the subconscious mind will
>} sort and process those things...

> Of course it's not true. It's not even likely.
> He scraped together a collection of disjointed
> concepts trying to rationalize something he
> decided to believe a priori.

The theory of hypnosis has emerged over decades.
The points of departure are a theory of mind at (AI).

Unit 4 also responded to the initial thread-post
with <1fn7ssod18pukls8fncfd4ank2rl3tfaua at>:

> 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
By which I presume that you mean that the hypnotist
causes the subject to "attend" to some things and to
"disattend" to others, such as, "Attend to the kitten
by holding it and stroking its fur," but "Disattend to
the fact that you are really holding a loaf of bread."

> directed in large part by the anterior cingulate.
Let's theorize about the logic of hypnotism without
regard to its imputed brain areas, until final answers
arrive from the Organization for Human Brain Mapping -- East Coast; or -- West Coast.

> It has little if anything to do with dream states.
Without quibbling too much over terminology, let us
explore hypnotism as one of three generalized states:
1) ordinary waking consciousness;
2) a dream state as non-waking consciousness;
3) a hypnotic trance.

> On Sat, 16 Sep 2000 07:41:47 GMT,
> Mentifex <mentifex at> wrote,
> in alt.mindcontrol:
The idea of "mind control" is very apropos here because we
are building artificial minds over which we will have some
control until we approach the Technological Singularity of Vinge.

>} 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.
>} To our dreaming selves, we are the ultimate authority.
The etiological differences among the three states listed
above are reducible to the simple on-or-off logic of brain
pathways.  If the massive structure of the input sensorium
is on during full consciousness, off during the dream state,
and commandeered by the hypnotist during a hypnotic trance,
then hypnotism becomes a matter of attentional priority:
the entranced mind rivets its attention to the hypnotist.

By the way, Unit 4, you are obviously knowledgeable.  Is there
truth to the common idea that one of the dangers of hypnotism
is leaving people in a trance -- appearing but not being awake?

>} 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.  [...]

Arthur T. Murray    mentifex at
-- Robot   Theory  of    Mind

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