“You do something to me
Something that simply mystifies me
Tell me, why should it be
You have the power to hypnotize me?”
When Cole Porter wrote those lyrics, he probably wasn’t thinking about hypnosis in the therapeutic sense of the word.
And yet it throws up an interesting question:
How many people can – or how many people can’t – be hypnotized?
David Spiegel MD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University has been quoted as estimating that about 25% of people cannot be hypnotized.
So while the exact number can’t truly be known, various percentages are frequently bandied about.
To test this hypothesis out, Spiegel and his team used MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans to try and figure out why some people were more susceptible than others.
They discovered that people who were more likely to be hypnotized show more activity in areas of the brain concerned with executive control and attention.
People who are easily hypnotized tend to lose track of time and get lost in a book or movie.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Spiegel said that highly hypnotizable people:
“Can readily immerse themselves in thinking about things without having their attention interrupted by pesky reminders of reality.”
It’s thought that roughly between 5-10% of people are highly susceptible to hypnotic suggestion, while up to 79% of the population are considered moderately susceptible.
Okay, so what do those numbers tell you?
They tell you that you’ve got a good chance of hypnotizing most of the people you meet.
That’s fantastic news, right?
But what they don’t tell you, though, is who those people are and how to spot them.
That’s where street hypnotists may have the upper hand. To weave their magic, they have to act fast.
They might only have seconds to make an impression. They need to be able to spot who’ll make a good subject and who won’t before the person walks on by or loses interest.
So you might be wondering, how do they do this… Keep Reading