Study Finds Hypnosis Causes Real Changes In Brain


Study Identifies Brain Areas Altered During Hypnotic Trance, by Sarah C.P. Williams

By scanning the brains of subjects while they were hypnotized, researchers were able to see the neural changes associated with hypnosis.

Your eyelids are getting heavy, your arms are going limp and you feel like you're floating through space. The power of hypnosis to alter your mind and body like this is all thanks to changes in a few specific areas of the brain, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered.

The scientists scanned the brains of 57 people during guided hypnosis sessions similar to those that might be used clinically to treat anxiety, pain or trauma. Distinct sections of the brain have altered activity and connectivity while someone is hypnotized, they report in a study that will be published online July 28 in Cerebral Cortex.

...David Spiegel's team also observed reduced connections between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the default mode network, which includes the medial prefrontal and the posterior cingulate cortex. This decrease in functional connectivity likely represents a disconnect between someone's actions and their awareness of their actions, Spiegel said. "When you're really engaged in something, you don't really think about doing it -- you just do it," he said. During hypnosis, this kind of disassociation between action and reflection allows the person to engage in activities either suggested by a clinician or self-suggested without devoting mental resources to being self-conscious about the activity.  [Read more]

Research Supports the Notion That Hypnosis Can Transform Perception
Stanford Report, by Mitch Leslie, September 6, 2000

Hypnosis can change how we see the world, a new Stanford study has revealed. By using PET scans to monitor neural activity, researchers demonstrated that the brain processes visual input differently under hypnosis allowing subjects to "see" color when they are actually staring at a black-and-white image. By bolstering the idea that hypnosis transforms perception, the study supports the use of the technique to improve athletic and intellectual performance and even to "think away" pain.

The question of how to interpret hypnosis divides psychiatrists into two camps, said David Spiegel, MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and senior author on the study. He and many other psychiatrists regard hypnosis as a genuine mental state, in which our perception of reality changes and our mind like a telephoto lens zooms in on a subject.   [Read more]

Hypnosis Pioneers - All in the Family:   Herbert Spiegel  |  David Spiegel

David Spiegel Associate Professor of Psychiatry Stanford

The man who proved hypnosis is a real phenomenon;
one that can be scientifically identified and measured.


David Spiegel Talks About the Science of Hypnosis



David Spiegel: Tranceformation - Hypnosis in Brain and Body


See also:
Harvard Professor Demonstrates Hypnosis is Real
Has Hypnosis Finally Been Vindicated by Neuroscience?
Research Supports the Notion That Hypnosis Can Transform Perception

Study IDs Changes in Specific Brain Areas During Hypnosis, by Rick Nauert PhD, Associate News Editor, Aug 8, 2018

The power of hypnosis to alter your mind and body is thanks to changes in a few specific areas of the brain, according to a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Researchers used functional magnetic imaging to scan the brains of participants during hypnosis sessions. They discovered three distinct sections of the brain are influenced in subjects that are hypnotizable.  [Read more]