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Derren Brown - Hypnosis


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#1    Ziggy Stardust

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 06:59 AM

Derren Brown is a mentalist who uses a combination of NLP, covert hypnosis and suggestion techniques to perform amazing tricks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Vz_YTNLn6w

Here, he goes shopping with plain paper bills rather than money. He succeeds because of subtle hypnosis cleverly ingrained into his conversation. For example, as he's handing over the paper - "I was hesitant to take the subway, but my friend said that's fine, just take it, it's fine."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZohpDS2aMc...feature=related

Here, exploiting the principles of social compliance, he manages to take a man's wallet just by asking.

There are many, many more videos of him. Let me know what you think.

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#2    darkbreed

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 07:57 AM

I'm not really sure what you want to discuss but yes he does use those methods you mention.

Something worth thinking of is that if one guy, a private person who learned this on his own, is able to do this - what do you think our governments are able to do with US considering their long time studies and research and experiments with these sort of things for decades (if not even longer)?

That doesn't only go for the governments, but also for the media, corporations, religious groups and organizations, societies and orders and so on.

It is stunningly easy to take abuse over other people if you know how, and trust me bigger guys than Derren Brown & Co does this.

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#3    eight bits

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 08:23 AM

Brown is an interesting performer, but few show-business magicians are candid about how they perform their tricks. An exception would be Penn and Teller, who pride themselves on being able to accomplish a trick even after you know how it works.

There is little evidence that there is any distinct phenomenon of "hypnosis." The hypothesis is, of course, irrebuttable, like "God wills it" is irrebuttable. Or, you could adopt a convention that "hypnosis" refers to a collection of diverse psychological and physiological phenomena, brought together to wow "subjects" or audiences.

There is no evidence, of which I am aware, that anything can be done with "hypnosis" that cannot be done without it.

For example, what Brown is doing with the blank strips of paper is distraction. It works with a small, but not vanishing, portion of people. To say that "he goes shopping with plain paper rather than money" is an exaggeration. He can occasionally pass a blank piece of paper for money. So can you or I.

People consistently overestimate how difficult it is to do things which they have not personally tried. That is the foundational "psychological trick" upon which Brown relies. The main difficulty in getting a stranger's wallet by asking for it, for most people, is working up the nerve to ask for it in the first place.

I hope that this doesn't come across as critical of Brown. It isn't intended to be. He makes no bones about being a performer, and he is good at it. All I am saying is that there is no "unexplained mystery" in his work.

Edit: a long while back, I posted a "low rent" instance of the same sort of tricks, for profit rather than for entertainment:

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum...howtopic=107119

The local TV station still has its version of the underlying story on-line:

http://www.wmur.com/news/14212889/detail.html

Anybody reading this could have walked off with this guy's money. It ain't magic, it ain't even rocket science.

Edited by eight bits, 14 September 2008 - 09:05 AM.

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#4    darkbreed

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 09:21 AM

I don't think anyone in this thread (the three of us so far) ever said there's any "unexplained mystery" behind what Brown does. I think we simply pointed out what he does which is indeed a psychological method and nothing more. Hypnosis is a state of mind, and it can be measured by brainwave activity and frequencies when it comes to the technical parts.

When it comes to what can be done with hypnosis and how it can be done without it, I think that may depend on what exactly is tried to be done in the first place. I'd like to hear some examples on how you can do the same things without hypnosis as you can with it?

Derren Brown mostly uses the "distraction technique" but there are many others employed as well, though I have not studied his work in detail I've seen some of it and easily understand how he does what he does as I've studied hypnosis, hypnotherapy, nlp and psychology etc for several years myself intending to get a degree within that field eventually.

Cheers,
-EA

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#5    eight bits

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 09:46 AM

I think you'd make a fine psychologist, Edward Alexander, and it is a fascinating subject to study. Best wishes for your degree plans.

I mentioned "unexplained mystery" because that's the name of the site. I don't know Ziggy's views on this, but he did mention hypnosis in his title.

Part of Brown's act is to offer non-explanations of some of the things he does, like hypnosis, while on some other things, he does offer explanations. As I hope was clear from my post, I don't begrudge Brown any of that. He is an entertainer, and he is up front about it.

As to your question, it would seem more efficient to proceed the other way around. What can be done with hypnosis is anything one human being can talk another into doing, which is an unwieldy subject for discussion.

Is there anything which you feel can be done with hypnosis, but disbelieve that it can be done otherwise?

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#6    Tiggs

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 10:17 AM

eight bits on Sep 14 2008, 10:46 AM, said:

Is there anything which you feel can be done with hypnosis, but disbelieve that it can be done otherwise?

Major surgery whilst awake without pain, for one.



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#7    eight bits

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 10:41 AM

And your evidence that that cannot be done without hypnosis? (For example, a controlled study... btw, how do you suppose sedation in lieu of anaethesia works?)

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#8    DNO

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 10:43 AM

I thought the second video was hilarious, I couldn't stop myself from laughing  laugh.gif
Although I do know how he does this. I don't know what the technique is called but I have done something similar myself.

Sometimes when someone is holding something in their hand which I want. I will talk to them, so they are concentrating on the converstaion. then I just simply take the item from their hands.
Since its the subconscious that is controlling their hand movements, taking the item simply confuses them.



#9    Tiggs

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 10:49 AM

eight bits on Sep 14 2008, 11:41 AM, said:

And your evidence that that cannot be done without hypnosis? (For example, a controlled study... btw, how do you suppose sedation in lieu of anaethesia works?)

I'm guessing that the number of volunteers for a controlled study that in essence asks "Hi, we'd like to take out one of your kidneys with no anaesthesia whilst you're still awake and see if you feel any pain or not" would be an integer value less than one.

I think there's a fairly established body of evidence pre-modern anaesthesia that would attest that major surgery is just a tad painful.


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#10    eight bits

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 11:32 AM

Tiggs, with all respect, a story about why evidence might be hard to come by is not evidence.

A parody of the difficulty scarcely advances the discussion. One possible study design would compare two methods of drug-free acute pain management, for example, musical distraction and hypnosis. Both have been accepted by volunteers, so why not a controlled study? Or for that matter, hypnosis versus an ingested placebo (which will, by the way, work in a non-trivial number of cases).

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I think there's a fairly established body of evidence pre-modern anaesthesia that would attest that major surgery is just a tad painful.

Pain is notorious as a complex and often counterintuitive perceptual and cognitive process. Everything that happens in surgery: childbirth, amputation, evisceration, ... also happens in non-clinical settings. There is tremendous variation in the reported pain associated with these non-clinical experiences.

This cannot be surprising, since shock is among the most predictable immediate physiological responses to gross bodily insult. Nobody is in their right mind in such circumstances. Other perceptions are altered, why would pain be the exception?

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#11    Tiggs

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 01:18 PM

eight bits on Sep 14 2008, 12:32 PM, said:

Tiggs, with all respect, a story about why evidence might be hard to come by is not evidence.

A parody of the difficulty scarcely advances the discussion. One possible study design would compare two methods of drug-free acute pain management, for example, musical distraction and hypnosis. Both have been accepted by volunteers, so why not a controlled study? Or for that matter, hypnosis versus an ingested placebo (which will, by the way, work in a non-trivial number of cases).

I think my point is that it's unlikely that you'll be able to find a long list of volunteers to listen to Phil Collins whilst having their kidneys removed in the hope that it'll distract them from the pain, whilst, you might for elective surgery with Local Anaesthesia.

For example, Neurological tests have been run using MRI to demonstrate that at the level of neural mechanisms, hypnosis has actual effects in reducing pain perception.

I'm not claiming that Hypnosis is in any way magical. I believe that it's just the applied consequence of communication. To quote Bandler and Grinder:

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Bandler: Everything is hypnosis.

Grinder: There's a profound disagreement between us. There is no such thing as hypnosis. I would really prefer that you didn't use such terms, since they don't refer to anything. We believe that all communication is hypnosis. That's the function of every conversation.


Neither Bandler nor Grinder claimed to know how NLP worked. Both of them were Modellers, in effect, copying techniques from other Hypnotherapists that worked. As such, the majority of NLP Practitioners today do not actually worry about whether or not hypnosis exists, per se, or even if it did, how it works. They're more focused on the point that the techniques they use actually do work.

Feel free to classify those techniques within whichever taxonomy you feel the most comfortable with. Personally, I prefer the much broader term "Communication".


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#12    eight bits

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 01:48 PM

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think my point is that it's unlikely that you'll be able to find a long list of volunteers to listen to Phil Collins whilst having their kidneys removed in the hope that it'll distract them from the pain, whilst, you might for elective surgery with Local Anaesthesia.

I was unable to locate a case report of a nephrectomy done under hypnosis. If you have a citation, then please share it.

There is no controversy in this thread that it is possible to control acute pain without chemical anaesthesia. What it controversial is that there is a phenomenon called "hypnosis" which is the unique way to accomplish that in a conscious subject.

A controlled experiment which addressed the controversy in the thread, then, would show hypnosis successfully managing pain, and other non-pharmacological techniques failing.

The study which you cited does not show this. It shows that non-pharmacological pain management is accompanied by measurable physiological correlates. Yes, it is. That helps to establish that non-pharmacological pain control exists, God's work to be sure, but not that hypnosis is a distinctive state of physiology or psychology, different from other conscious states in which pain is mitigated.

I have no problem with calling "talking somebody into something" "communication." What I question is whether there is something that can be accomplished by hypnosis which cannot be accomplished otherwise.

And, umm, is it just me, or have we drifted away from anything which Mr. Brown claims is attributable to hypnosis?

Edited by eight bits, 14 September 2008 - 01:58 PM.

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#13    Tiggs

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Posted 14 September 2008 - 06:38 PM

eight bits on Sep 14 2008, 02:48 PM, said:

There is no controversy in this thread that it is possible to control acute pain without chemical anaesthesia. What it controversial is that there is a phenomenon called "hypnosis" which is the unique way to accomplish that in a conscious subject.

A controlled experiment which addressed the controversy in the thread, then, would show hypnosis successfully managing pain, and other non-pharmacological techniques failing.

The study which you cited does not show this. It shows that non-pharmacological pain management is accompanied by measurable physiological correlates. Yes, it is. That helps to establish that non-pharmacological pain control exists, God's work to be sure, but not that hypnosis is a distinctive state of physiology or psychology, different from other conscious states in which pain is mitigated.

Ah. My apologies. I hadn't realised that you associated Hypnosis with an altered state of mind. As far as I'm aware, there's no such thing as a Hypnotic state, per se. The subconscious can be altered regardless of what state of conciousness you're currently in.


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#14    Ziggy Stardust

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 05:08 AM

I didn't have anything to discuss in particular, just wanted to show unenlightened people who he is, and hear opinions from people who have seen him.

Also, I'd be very interested to hear from people who have actually practised his techniques? Some of his hypnosis methods, for example covert/conversational hypnosis, in which suggestions are planted in seemingly innocent language appear relatively easy to master with practise. Also his use of anchoring.

Edited by Ziggy Stardust, 15 September 2008 - 05:08 AM.

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#15    eight bits

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Posted 15 September 2008 - 10:49 AM

Ziggy, you are being misdirected.

Brown's goal for his audience is to make you believe that there is some causal relationship between what he does and what the subjects of his exploits do. It does not help him if you draw the obvious conclusion from what you are seeing with your own eyes: that people sometimes fail to watch their money, or sometimes hand over their wallets when asked, etc.

In order for Brown to be paid, you must think that Brown personally has something to do with what would happen anyway. Compare the similar plight of the performer called a "rain maker."

Brown pushes a lot of buttons in his patter. But Ziggy

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Some of his hypnosis methods, for example covert/conversational hypnosis, in which suggestions are planted in seemingly innocent language appear relatively easy to master with practise.

is horse hockey. There are no "suggestions planted," unless you count avoiding the topics of con men, theft, and making a fool of someone in his distracting rivulet of words.

He could talk about the weather. In fact "rain makers" do exactly that, and it works just as well.

But Brown doesn't talk about the weather, because the hard part of his act is to convince you of something. Getting the wallet, passing the paper, getting people to babble against their interest, etc, is the easy part.

And the beauty of video, of course, is that you see the occasions when it works, but not the flops. Even though you know that about video, you discount it.

That is, you do part of Brown's work for him. Why?

How to say this delicately? A proverb among con men is "You cannot con an honest mark." Ziggy, part of you hopes that there is some "back door" in the psyche through which you, too, can get somebody's wallet. Ironically, there is. Ask 50 people politely, and you will get a wallet.

But that's too much like work, so you would like to think that Brown knows something that will cut the load down to 5 or 6. Well, there is that, too. As the saying goes, How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice.

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Also his use of anchoring.

Then take up Tai Chi, or Qi Gong, and get something worthwhile from the phenomenon.

Yes, Ziggy, I have done parallel things in real life. Although the statute of limitations has passed, I would rather omit the details of some of my more colorful youthful misadventures. Suffice it to say that I know for a fact that an armed man can misdirect a cop who is frisking him to miss the weapon, stowed in a usual place.

There was some "psychology" to that - a cop often enough would rather not find a weapon, contrary to appearances. That can be used. But there is no magic in it.

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