Academic journal article Science Scope

The Eyes Don't Lie

Academic journal article Science Scope

The Eyes Don't Lie

Article excerpt

A multidisciplinary group of researchers from Finland (University of Turku and Aalto University) and Sweden (University of Skovde) has found that the strange stare of patients under hypnosis may be a key that can eventually lead to a solution to a long debate about the existence of a hypnotic state.

One of the most widely known features of a hypnotized person in the popular culture is a glazed, wide-open look in the eyes. Paradoxically, this sign has not been considered to have any major importance among researchers and has never been studied in any detail, probably due to the fact that it can be seen in only some hypnotized people.

The study was done with a very highly hypnotizable participant who can be hypnotized and dehypnotized simply by using a one-word cue. The change between hypnotic state and normal state can thus be varied in seconds. The researchers used high-resolution eye-tracking methodology and presented a set of well-established oculomotor tasks that trigger automatic eye behavior. They found the glazed stare was accompanied by objectively measurable changes in automatic, reflexive eye behavior that could not be imitated by non-hypnotized participants. …

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