Skeptic Check: Hypnosis

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You are getting sleeeepy and open to suggestion. But is that how hypnotism works? And does it really open up a portal to the unconscious mind? Hypnotism can be an effective therapeutic tool, and some scientists suggest replacing opioids with hypnosis for pain relief. And yet, the performance aspect of hypnotism often seems at odds with the idea of it being an effective treatment.

In our regular look at critical thinking, Skeptic Check, we ask what part of hypnotism is real and what is an illusion. Plus, we discuss how the swinging watch became hypnotism’s irksome trademark.


David Spiegel – Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine

Devin Terhune – Reader in the Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths University of London

Featuring music by Dewey Dellay and Jun Miyake

Graphic by Shannon Rose Geary

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