Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

The Jungle of Hypnotic Psi: Part 1. Research on Hypnosis Relevant to psi/La Jungle Du Psi Hypnotique: Premiere Partie. la Recherche Sur L'hypnose Pertinente Pour le psi/Der Dschungel Des Hypnotischen Psi: Teil I. Psi-Relevante Forschung Zur hypnose/La Selva Hipnotica De Psi: Parte 1. Investigacion En Hipnosis Pertinente a Psi

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

The Jungle of Hypnotic Psi: Part 1. Research on Hypnosis Relevant to psi/La Jungle Du Psi Hypnotique: Premiere Partie. la Recherche Sur L'hypnose Pertinente Pour le psi/Der Dschungel Des Hypnotischen Psi: Teil I. Psi-Relevante Forschung Zur hypnose/La Selva Hipnotica De Psi: Parte 1. Investigacion En Hipnosis Pertinente a Psi

Article excerpt

In a previous paper (Parker & Millar, 2014) the crisis in psi research was related to the failure to deal with the psi-based experimenter effect. The myth here was that by studying psi like any other ability, as a normally distributed variable, progress would be made. The current two-part paper is a companion to this and deals with another apparent myth that exacerbates the crisis: the excessive belief in the historic strength of the association of hypnosis with psi. It will be argued here that research has headed off in wrong directions with the result that it has now lost itself in a forest of findings. Like experimenter effects, a critical review of the evidence suggests there are nevertheless some promising ways forward.

Research on what I call "hypnotic psi" is one of the few consistently active areas of research remaining in contemporary parapsychology Arguably, the revival of interest in using hypnosis to facilitate psi is appealing in psi research circles because it promises a refuge for what appears to be the robust historical association between the two areas.

It will be argued here that poorly financed and ill-equipped ventures of this nature are potentially perilous given the complexity and demands of the issues encountered. Most of the contemporary publications on the topic of hypnotic psi (to be discussed fully in Part 2) have implicitly assumed--actually on little or no evidence--that hypnosis has been established not only as an altered state but also as a psi-conducive one. These current reports of the investigations of hypnotic psi show unfortunately little overt awareness of the complexity of the issues surrounding the nature of hypnosis that have evolved during recent years. Moreover, it will be later argued that in the face of this complexity, the need for maintaining the rigorous research tradition in parapsychology has been neglected. The risk is that the application of a less than state-of-the-artmethodology to a heavily disputed area can actually worsen rather than improve the credibility of parapsychology.

The fact of the matter is that the existence or nonexistence of a hypnotic state has been and still is the subject of 60 years of intensive research and debate in which there is little agreement (Accardi, Cleere, Lynn, & Kirsch, 2013; Kallio & Revonsuo, 2003; Kirsch, 2005; McConkey, 2008). What is more disconcerting is that many of the above studies based their claims for hypnosis being a psi-conducive state on the meta-analysis by Stanford and Stein (1994) as having established that such a state probably exists. Stanford and Stein were, however, very cautious, especially given the number of methodological flaws that they discovered (along with numerous other problems in the database), to avoid any simple and firm conclusions about the effect of hypnosis above and beyond control groups.

Stanford and Stein were well aware that any procedure that appeared powerful to the participants could thereby have an enabling effect similar to that of a physician administering a placebo or indeed a magician possessing showmanship. The fact that Mesiner was both a physician and a showman did in fact set the stage for future practitioners of the art and prepared the ground for the ensuing controversies over the true nature of hypnosis (Buranelli, 1975). This is not to say that some of these later hypnotists were not reputable and successful practitioners. One of these, the Swedish physician Axel Munthe (best known in parapsychology for being the attending physician at F. W. Myers' death in Rome) lived on until 1949 and left us with a vibrant autobiographical link with the heyday of hypnosis. After an intense dispute with neurologist-hypnotist Jean-Martin Charcot over Charcot's dubious form of hypnosis and exploitation of women patients, Munthe became himself a celebrated high society physician while at the same time maintaining a benevolent practice for treating the destitute. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.