From PsychEvos Wiki


Hypnosis is a special psychological state with certain physiological attributes, resembling sleep only superficially and marked by a functioning of the individual at a level of awareness other than the ordinary conscious state. This state is characterized by a degree of increased receptiveness and responsiveness in which inner experiential perceptions are given as much significance as the general conscious reality[1]. It is a mental state of highly focused concentration, diminished peripheral awareness, and heightened suggestibility[2].

Inducing Hypnosis

There are numerous techniques that experts employ for inducing a hypnotic state. These methods often involve relaxation, guided imagery, and focused attention. Hypnosis is typically used to modify a person's behavior, emotions, or perceptions in therapeutical settings.

Evolutionary Aspects of Hypnosis

Considering hypnosis from an evolutionary perspective, the ability to enter a hypnotic trance is hypothesized to have evolved to contribute to the survival of our ancestors[3]. Hypnosis may be viewed in terms of an action pattern or a self-contained behavioral program that might not be as rigid as seen in lower organisms but has evolved to play a relevant role in human behavior[4].

Survival Benefits

Hypnosis could have played a role in the survival and adaptation of our ancestors by allowing them to cope with challenging or traumatic situations. The heightened state of focus, as well as the responsive and receptive nature of hypnosis, might have enabled our ancestors to access useful coping strategies or tap into important psychological resources[5].

Relevance to Modern Humans

The hypnotic qualities inherited from our ancestors have continued to contribute to the psychological well-being of modern-day humans. The use of hypnosis in therapeutic settings demonstrates its relevance as a tool for psychological intervention and treatment.

Theoretical Views

A complete theory of hypnosis awaits a comprehensive understanding of the human mind and consciousness. Nonetheless, piecemeal theories have been proposed in an attempt to explain the phenomena observed in hypnosis[6].

One theory, put forth by Hilgard, posits that hypnosis alters executive and control functions. In this view, when a hypnotic response is elicited, the experience of volition is dissociated from the conscious awareness. This dissociation is hypothesized to play a role in the effectiveness of hypnosis as an intervention tool.


In conclusion, hypnosis is a psychological state characterized by heightened focus, suggestibility, and receptivity. Seen from an evolutionary perspective, hypnosis is hypothesized to have evolved as a survival mechanism for our ancestors, enabling them to cope with challenging situations. The continued use of hypnosis across various therapeutic settings demonstrates its ongoing relevance and usefulness in modern human life.