Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Evidence for the Existence of a Hypnotic State

Researchers have found evidence for the existence of a hypnotic state

The key was in the glazed staring eyes

Researchers have found evidence for the existence of a hypnotic state -- the key was in the glazed staring eyes
A multidisciplinary group of researchers from Finland (University of Turku and Aalto University) and Sweden (University of Skövde) has found that strange stare may be a key that can eventually lead to a solution to this 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.
This study was done with a very highly hypnotizable participant who can be hypnotized and dehypnotized by just 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.
In the field of hypnosis research this result means that hypnosis can no longer be regarded as mental imagery that takes place during a totally normal waking state of consciousness. On the other hand, the result may have wider consequences for psychology and cognitive neuroscience, since it provides the first evidence of the existence of a conscious state in humans that has previously not been scientifically confirmed.
Hypnosis has had a long and controversial history in psychology, psychiatry and neurology. For over 100 years researchers have debated if a special hypnotic state exists or whether it is just about using cognitive strategies and mental imagery in a normal waking state. So far, a hypnotic state has never been convincingly demonstrated, and therefore, many researchers regard the hypnotic state to be just a popular myth in psychology.

3 Ways to Deal with Tough Times

Times are tough. If you've been paying attention, you know that all of the economic gains of the last decade have gone to the top 1% of the population, leaving 99% of us no better off -- or worse off. You know that half of all workers earn less than about $23,600/year. Small business owners have been hurt more than other workers -- with an average decrease in income in the last few years of about 17%.

This has been hitting home in a number of ways.  Here's one:

Last week, a friend called me, saying she was at the end of her rope and didn't know what to do. Jenny is a talented psychologist in private practice, generally very positive, very together, very upbeat. Her clients think the world of her -- and say so publicly. But her business is down -- her sales are now less than her rent. Jenny, divorced many years ago, is going through her savings, and although she is in no danger of being homeless any time soon, she's terrified.

When I tried to commiserate with her, saying my business was way off, too, she sobbed, "But you have a husband, you own a home -- you have something!"

I had to acknowledge that that was true, and pointed out her close family and many good friends. Jenny has been a good friend to many people, and so many people would be there if she asked. But she won't ask.

"Why not?", I wanted to know.

Well, because many years ago, her mother, a stiff upper lip Brit, told her that, "People don't want to hear your troubles. If you tell them you have problems, they'll abandon you."

As my Dad (an educated man) used to say, "Them as don't ask, don't get." You have to ask for what you need! How else are people supposed to know you need something?

So for Jenny, step one is acknowledging to her friends that she needs help, and asking for what she needs.

99% of us are all in this together. So the next question, whether or not you're in need right now, is: what do you have to share? If you need a place to stay, can you offer services in exchange? Can you cook? clean? garden? If you have an extra room, are you willing to share that? What would you like in exchange?

 We're all in this together -- and the more we can share, the more outside shocks we can all withstand. United we stand...

There's more to it than just sharing, though. Gratitude is hugely important, too, and there are two reasons for this. First, if you are appreciating what is good in your life, you'll have a more positive frame of mind to deal with what is less positive. Second, what you focus on, expands. This is the famed Law of Attraction.

Here's a very partial list of things to be grateful for:

  • food to eat
  • clothes to wear
  • a roof over your head, and the utilities to run the household
  • any and all good relationships
  • good health
  • the ability to get from one place to another
  • having a body, so you can experience the world at this most interesting time
  • the beauty of the earth
  • being connected to the world on the internet 
For a really easy and effective way to be grateful -- and totally not what you'd expect -- click here

To summarize, here are the three ways to deal with tough times:
  1. Ask for what you need
  2. Share what you can
  3. Be grateful for you have

    Tuesday, October 04, 2011

    Noise & music are more distracting to introverts at work

    And it's even worse if your main perceptual system is auditory! (No research on that, though.)

    BPS Occupational Digest: Noise and music are more distracting to introverts at work

    A realy simple way to eat less!

    Eat with your non-dominant hand! Research here:

    BPS Research Digest

    Half-Generation Friends

    A couple of weeks ago, I had my first real conversation with Perry Garfinkel on my radio show, "Your Life, Your Relationships". [You can hear the conversation online here, or here in iTunes.] It was delightful! I felt like I'd made a new friend, or maybe found an older brother I hadn't yet met. Names of several well-known people, whom I'd heard lecture, or whose works I'd read, fell off his tongue -- they were his teacher, his friends, his personal acquaintances. Wow!

    It turned out that he's 11 years older than I am. While he was in India, I was in high school (and if I hadn't been intellectually precocious, I'd still have been in grade school)! That meant he was enough older than me to have been in the vanguard of the American consciousness revolution, while I was following distantly in their footsteps.

    And that got me to thinking about friends who are a half-generation ahead of or behind me. [A generation is variously described as 20 - 30 years, so a half-generation would be 10 - 15 years.] These are very important friendships!

    When I was a kid, my Dad had 2 good friends, men he'd play tennis with each week. One had his own family, with kids around the ages of my sister and me; our two families became friendly. The other, though only a couple of years younger than my Dad, was still single, and actively dating. The women he dated all seemed to be about the same age, 23 - 26, even as he got older. As I entered my teen years, my (temporary) friendships with these young women became very important to me. Why? Well, they were enough older than me to have 'been there, done that', and thereby give good advice (and I had no older sisters or cousins). They were also young enough to understand my world, and therefore not to judge me in the way someone of my parents' age would have.

    Today, as an adult, I still have half-generation friends. The older ones point the way into the second half of life. The younger ones change my perspective on the world, because it looks a bit different to them than it does to me.

    Who are the half-generation friends in your life? What do they bring to your life?