The difference in brain structures is the reason behind why some people can't be hypnotized, a research finds.
Hypnosis is described as a trance-like state during which a
person has a heightened focus and concentration. It has been used clinically to
help patients manage pain, control stress and anxiety and combat phobias.
The study uses data from functional and structural magnetic
resonance imaging to identify how the areas of the brain tied with executive
control and attention tend to have less activity in people who cannot be put
into a hypnotic trance, the journal Archives of General Psychiatry reported.
"There's never been a brain signature of being
hypnotized, and we're on the verge of identifying one," said David
Spiegel, senior study author and professor of psychiatry and behavioral
sciences at Standord
Such an advance would enable scientists to understand better
the mechanisms underlying hypnosis and how it can be used more widely and
effectively in clinical settings, added Spiegel, who also directs the Stanford
Centre for Integrative Medicine, according to a university statement.
Spiegel estimates that one-quarter of the patients he sees
cannot be hypnotized, though a person's hypnotizability is not linked with any
specific personality trait.
"There's got to be something going on in the
brain," he said.
Hypnosis works by modulating activity in brain regions
linked with focused attention, and this study offers compelling new details
regarding neural capacity for hypnosis.
Spiegel and Stanford colleagues performed functional
and structural MRI scans of the brains of adults with high and low