This is a bit of a non-sequitur for KoH, but it does have something to do with spiritualism and a lot to do with science, and besides, I need to post again. Hypnosis has always been very interesting to me. Well, actually not just hypnosis but also the whole idea of meditation and all that mind-over-matter type stuff. But whenever I've asked about it, I've always just been given some spiritual explanation. I was reading something online (I seem to have lost the URL, sorry) about hypnosis and its scientific value, and becoming very intrigued. What follows is derived from a paper I wrote for school on the subject.
Hypnosis is not just a parlor trick. From its original use by German physician, Dr. Franz Mesmer in the 18th century to fool people into giving him money to its application in neuroscience today, it has always had an air of mystery about it. Now its mysteries are beginning to become unraveled by modern day science, and the results are truly revealing.
"The idea that perceptions can be manipulated by expectations" is fundamental to the study of cognition, said Michael I. Posner, an emeritus professor of neuroscience at the
One area that it may have illuminated is the processing of sensory data. Information from the eyes, ears and body is carried to primary sensory regions in the brain. From there, it is brought up to so-called higher regions where interpretation occurs. These higher regions are what we use to think, and it is here that hypnosis takes hold.
Allow me to illustrate: photons bouncing off a flower first reach the eye, where they are turned into a pattern that is sent to the primary visual cortex. There, the rough shape of the flower is recognized. The pattern is next sent to a higher region, where color is recognized, and then to an even higher region, where the flower's identity is encoded along with other knowledge about the particular bloom. Exciting, isn’t it?
This system of information traveling from lower to higher regions in the brain, which also works for all of your other senses, is what is call feedforward. But here’s the cool part: information travels the other way too. Surprisingly, there are ten times as many nerve fibers carrying information down as there are carrying it up. These feedback fibers mean that consciousness, what people see, hear, feel, etc., is based on what neuroscientists call “top down processing.” Here’s the point: what you see is not always what you get, because what you see depends on a framework built by experience that stands ready to interpret the raw information - as a flower or a hammer or a face. Your frame of reference can determine how you experience your life. Now that’s neat.
That’s where hypnosis comes in. A hypnotist can burden the higher functions of your brain so that they overload your lower regions, meaning that when your eyes see a pink flower, but your higher regions want it to be blue, it becomes blue. If the top is convinced, the bottom level of data will be overruled.
That is quite neat. I hope that y'all have learned something.
Thank you for your time.