I read an interesting article on New Scientist today describing how new research is suggesting that those who are un-hypnotisable may have a more balanced brain (between left and right hemispheres) than those that are highly susceptible!
There is a kind of standard statistic in hypnosis that (whether through suggestion or genuine experience) most hypnotists will agree on:
About 20% of the population is highly susceptible
About 60% of the population can be hypnotised
About 20% of the population cannot be hypnotised
Of course the actual numbers change by 5% or so depending on who you ask and which text book you’re quoting, but there is definitely agreement that some people are highly hypnotisable and some people are simply not worth the hours and hours it would take to create hypnosis making them, to all intents and purposes: un-hypnotisable (one of my early hypnosis subjects took 10 sessions before he was able to exhibit trance phenomena!).
This new research by Peter Naish of the Open University in Milton Keynes suggests that those people who are highly susceptible to hypnosis have a tendency to use the right side of their brains more than their left. The right side of the brain is the side that is typically associated with creativity, imagery and and the left with analysis and logical thinking. If you’re interested in what this might mean in other parts of your life, try a quick Google. I found this article which is very interesting (albeit somewhat student orientated), about how we should learn to study using the right (sorry) correct methods to match our hemisphere weighting…
This would agree with my experience that creative people tend to better at hypnosis than those who are more analytical and logical in the way they think and act. I have learnt that someone who comes to me for help (or while I’m doing street hypnosis) with colourful clothes or hair, an interesting clothing style or generally seem like they are happy to see where the wind takes them that they’re going to be great at hypnosis 🙂
My friend Parkey is an excellent example of someone who struggles with hypnosis because of his “analytical” brain and you can read the highs and lows of his journey to achieve hypnosis on his blog here. There is some good news for analytical people though: Find yourself someone able to do some transcranial magnetic stimulation on your left hemisphere which (temporarily) reduces left hemisphere brain activity. Apparently you’re much more likely to experience hypnosis.
One thing that amuses me about this is that scientists by their very nature, tend to be analytical people and this may explain why hypnosis research is not as frequent as it might be. After all, why research something that you can’t experience? Or at least not in the way that some of the highly susceptible people can…