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  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.

  • I'm Rob.

  • And I'm Sam.

  • Now, Sam, look into my eyes!

  • You are feeling sleepy! Relax!

  • What are you doing, Rob?

  • Trying to hypnotise me?

  • Well, since hypnotism is the topic of this program,

  • I thought I'd give it a try!

  • So how do you feel, Sam?

  • Are you under my spell?

  • Hmmm, I don't think so, Rob.

  • It's not so easy to put me into a hypnotic trance,

  • that's the word to describe the state of mind of someone who's been hypnotized and isn't completely in control.

  • You mean like those stage magicians who trick people into clucking like a chicken or playing an imaginary violin?

  • Yes, some hypnotists make people do silly things for entertainment but hypnotism has real benefits as well - curing phobias, for example.

  • Maybe so, but for other people the very idea of a hypnotic trance is nonsense.

  • And even if hypnotism is real, why would you let a complete stranger inside your head?

  • Don't worry, Rob. I won't make you cluck like a chicken!

  • Please don't! At least, not before my quiz question, which is about a well-known 20th century hypnotist.

  • One of the first Europeans to hypnotize people, this man became so famous that his name is forever associated with hypnotic trances - but who was he? Was it:

  • a) Sigmund Freud

  • b) Franz Mesmer

  • c) Harry Houdini

  • Well, people who want to quit smoking sometimes use a kind of therapy involving hypnotism,

  • so maybe it's a) Sigmund Freud!

  • OK, we'll find out if that's right at the end of the program.

  • One question that's often asked is whether anyone can be hypnotized - or are there people, maybe like you, Sam, who are less hypnotizable than others?

  • Professor Amir Raz is a psychiatrist at The Brain Institute in Orange County, California.

  • According to him, there are two things which explain what makes one person more or less hypnotizable than another,

  • as he told BBC World Service program, The Why Factor.

  • And listen out for the first thing he mentions:

  • Initially people thought that if you're very intelligent you're likely to be less suggestible;

  • if you are male you're likely to be less suggestible than if you're female; and so on.

  • These have been largely dismissed.

  • In fact, it's about two things.

  • First, absorption.

  • Your ability to get engrossed in a particular activity - we all know people who are capable of reading a book and losing track of time,

  • we know the same thing about people who are watching a film and beginning to cry,

  • and having all these emotional reactions, again getting very much sucked into the scene and being riveted.

  • People often think you can be easily hypnotized if you are suggestible, or easily influenced by others.

  • In fact, hypnotism is about two things.

  • Did you hear the first thing, Sam?

  • Yes - it's getting absorbed; so absorbed that you lose track of time - become so occupied with something that you are unaware of the passing time.

  • And getting absorbed can also mean you get sucked into something - become involved in a situation when you do not want to be involved.

  • Stage hypnotists often speak in a soothing, gentle ways to help this process of getting someone absorbed or sucked in!

  • But according to Professor Raz, there's a second important part to being hypnotized: attention.

  • Listen to the definition of attention Professor Raz gives to BBC World Service program,

  • The Why Factor:

  • The ability to get focused, to concentrate and hone in on particular, select pieces of information to the exclusion of others.

  • Besides the relaxed, dream-like feeling of being absorbed, what's also needed is the concentration to hone in on something,

  • in other words, to give it your full attention.

  • What you hone in on could be the way the hypnotist speaks, like how Rob said,

  • 'Look into my eyes!' at the beginning of the program.

  • Or it could be some other object, like a moving finger, a pendulum or a swinging watch that some hypnotists use.

  • Well, I don't feel hypnotised, Rob, but I'm certainly focused on one thing - my lunch!

  • So come on, tell me - what's the correct answer to the quiz question?

  • OK, Sam. I asked you which hypnotist was so famous that his name became used as a verb.

  • And what did you say?

  • I guessed it was a) Sigmund Freud.

  • It was a good guess, but the correct answer was b) a German doctor called, Franz Mesmer.

  • Of course! And the word named after him was mesmerized - to have your attention completely fixed so that you can't think of anything else.

  • Well, that might be a problem if you want to remember this vocabulary, so let's recap the words we've learned, starting with trance - a state of consciousness in which you are not completely aware or in control.

  • Someone who is suggestible is easily influenced by other people.

  • When you lose track of time, you become so absorbed with something that you are unaware of time passing.

  • And you might get sucked in - become involved in a situation that you don't want to.

  • Hypnotism also depends on concentration and the ability to hone in on something - to give something your full attention.

  • Until you're mesmerized - you have your attention completely fixed so that you cannot think of anything else.

  • That's all for this hypnotic journey.

  • Bye for now!

  • Bye bye!

Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English.

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B2 absorbed rob programme sucked trance attention

Hypnotism - 6 Minute English

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/08/01
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