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Molly Pieri's picture

Headless Chickens and Hypnotism...

After being reminded in class of the particularly vivid memory I have of chickens getting their heads cut off (thanks a lot, Professor), I've been thinking a lot about inhibition pathways in the nervous system.

One thing that I thought was an interesting idea concerning this concept was the practice of hypnosis. Assuming we can boil conscious or at least intentional, human behavior down to neuron pathways (a second post on the bag-o-chemicals vs. free-will debate to follow this one), it seems that hypnosis has a significant effect on which synapses are fired and which are not in as much as hypnosis significantly alters a person's behavior. But how?

Some times, people who are under hypnosis seem to be much less inhibited than they would otherwise be... any one who's seen hypnosis used for entertainment has probably witnessed this. Other examples are when hypnosis therapy is used to help patients regain memory or overcome shyness.

But other times, hypnosis seems to make an individual, if any thing, more inhibited in their behavior. Like when it's used to help people stop smoking, or make lifestyle changes to loose weight.

I guess it looks like we're not far enough along in our study of the nervous system to tackle the problem of what exactly hypnosis does to our bodies in order to affect our behavior, but if any one has any thoughts on the matter, I'd love to hear them.

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