Did you know that hypnosis contains a discrepancy in its description? Well, let’s back up for a moment. When a hypnotist describes a hypnotic trance, they often include the fact that while being hypnotized, a person is always in total control of himself or herself and would never do something that they would not otherwise do if they were not hypnotized.
So, this being the case, why in the world would a person attending a live stage hypnotist show, get up in front of a crowd of people and bark like a dog, cluck like a chicken or perform other foolish tasks on command that they would not otherwise do in public? Well, the answer is because of human social acceptance.
Human beings are genetically social animals. So regardless of what some people may say, we as human beings all want to be socially accepted, to some degree, by society, our friends, our families and our peers. That is what compels us comb our hair in the morning, shave our faces, match and iron our clothes and just simply do all the little things that it takes to make ourselves appear presentable.
Now, social acceptance does go a bit deeper than combing our hair. In order to elaborate on the subject, let’s look at some cases where social acceptance has caused people to do things that they may not have otherwise done. For example, how could Charles Manson convince a few otherwise normal children who actually had fairly normal upbringings, to commit crimes that they knew were wrong? Through social acceptance.
These children went along with committing these awful crimes because within their immediate circle of friends and peers, what they were doing was considered a socially accepted act that fed off of one another. When we as humans see other humans doing something, we tend to convince ourselves that it is the correct thing to do or at least to some degree, it is okay to do. So in the end, the result is that we most likely end up following the leader or the crowd, almost like how people will often just follow the crowd during a fire drill. We automatically assume that since everyone else is exiting a certain way, then that MUST be the right way.
So, now let's take this a bit deeper. Tests have been conducted to measure the level of social acceptance among humans. In one test, there were eight people placed together in a room. Seven of the people were in on the experiment and the eight was not. The experiment was as follows. They were all seated at a conference table and asked a series of questions. Following each question the seven people who were in on the experiment would give their answers first, then the eight person who was not in on the experiment would answer last.
During the beginning of the questioning, the seven people who were in on the experiment were instructed to give correct answers. But on the final question, they were instructed to give an incorrect answer that agreed with each other. For example, on the last question when asked what does 2+2 equal, the first seven people were all told to answer 5. Well guess what, almost 100% of the time, the eight person who was not in on the experiment also answered 5.
Now, why would a person give an incorrect answer even though he or she knows that it is wrong? Well it is simple. As humans, we do not want to be an outcast or go against the crowd. The eighth person knew that the correct answer was 4, but they also knew that if they had said it was 4 when everyone else answered 5, the whole room would focus on them as being the odd person or an outcast. So rather run the risk of being labeled as wrong or different by the crowd, the eighth person simply went along with everyone else and gave the same answer as everyone else, even though they knew it was incorrect.
The same goes for nightclub stage hypnosis. If there are twelve other people running around the stage barking like dogs, chances are that you too will run around the stage and bark like a dog. And you will do this because you know that if you don’t, the hypnotist along with hundreds of people in the crowd will all be looking at you like you are an outcast and that there must be something wrong with you.
So in closing, I am certainly not suggesting that stage hypnotists hire people in the crowd to pretend to be hypnotized. But rather I am simply explaining how our social behavior works and how it can make us do or say things that they may not have otherwise done or said. And so I leave you with yet another example of how wonderful and powerful our minds are.
The Power Of Hypnosis