Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Is hypnosis just hocus-pocus?

Dressed in a flowing cape, 16th-century physician Franz Anton Mesmer merely had to touch his suggestive patients with a magnetic wand for them to experience wild laughter, crying and shrieking. So what is hypnosis? Do hypnotized people enter a sleep-like state in which they forego their willpower, are oblivious to their surroundings and forget what happened afterwards?

Click on the box above to listen as psychologist Scott Lilienfeld explains the history of hypnosis, from Mesmer to Svengali and “The Manchurian Candidate.” Beware as you stare into the black box: You may get mesmerized. Hypnosis is one chapter in the new book he co-authored, “50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior.”

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