Psychiatrists have been using hypnosis on patients for decades — to help them reduce their pain or kick a smoking habit, among other reasons.
But what, exactly, is happening to the patients’ brains when they are in a hypnotic state?
In a new study, published [July 28] in the journal Cerebral Cortex, Spiegel and his colleagues report that they’ve found a distinctive signature in the brain when a patient has undergone hypnosis. What’s more, the changes in brain activity give scientists hints about what happens to the mind of hypnotized subjects. The discovery may ultimately lead to new insights about how to make hypnosis more effective.
After the experiment, the scientists looked at how the brain activity of the highs and the lows changed with each task. They found that during hypnosis, the highs displayed a distinct pattern of brain activity — one that was not found in the control group, and one that was not found when the highly hypnotizable people were in a resting state or using their memory.
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