We’ve all read about, or seen, examples of the stage hypnotist. This is the person that, as part of a show, hypnotizes a person or group of people and makes them Stage hypnotist shows perform what are often strange acts such as clucking like a chicken or other odd actions. Are these people really hypnotists and are their subjects actually being hypnotized? The answer is a dubious yes.
Psychologists have studied the stage hypnotist for as long as hypnosis has been around and have come to some interesting conclusions about the stage hypnotist and his subjects. In essence, psychologists surmise, subjects that are hypnotized in front of an audience are hypnotized because they want to be hypnotized and because they expect to be hypnotized.
In studying the subjects of the stage hypnotist, scientists believe that the hypnotism of these individuals occurs for several reasons. First, people go to a hypnosis show because they have a reasonable and predetermined expectation of witnessing hypnosis. Further, when the hypnotist asks for volunteers, the individuals who volunteer are generally open to the experience and eager to comply with the show. The hypnotist is skilled at eliminating the naysayers from the group so that he or she is left with an individual subject or group of subjects that are most likely to produce the desired result. Additionally, stage hypnotists have admitted to selecting subjects that are natural exhibitionists and have perhaps had a drink or two to warm them up.
In essence, stage hypnosis is real, but…well…staged. Since approximately ten percent of the population is easily hypnotizable, a stage hypnotist knows that he or she will have a selection of subjects. The individuals who volunteer for stage hypnosis are likely to respond also because there is a great deal of pressure to perform. Being watched by a thousand pairs of eyes can be a great incentive to respond favorably to the hypnotist.