Short answer: You can see the hypnotic state on a brain scan, so yes, hypnosis is real. Long answer … read on!
Hypnosis is Real: It Shows Up on Brain Scans
As you can see in the picture, the normal waking state, hypnosis, and faking the result all use different parts of the brain, and this can be picked up on a brain scan. Even without a brain scan, you can usually tell a hypnotized person from someone who isn’t.
Is That Other Person Hypnotized?
Since most of us don’t have a brain scanner handy, we rely on other ways of telling if someone is hypnotized.
The hypnotist who does a stage show at the Benton County Fair, Tammy Harris Barton, is good, and you can learn the difference between someone who is really hypnotized and someone who is not just by watching her. During the first part of the show, she does things that deepen the hypnosis of the volunteers, and excuses the ones who aren’t going as deep as she’d like, until she’s left with the ones who are deeply hypnotized.