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Covert hypnosis? How do you protect yourself from it?

  1. Feb 11, 2010 #1
    Hi guys,

    I have heard of cases of crime using covert hypnosis. They control your body to make you do things of in their interest. If someone is trying to hypnotize you without knowledge, what can you do exactly to not get hypnotized.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2010 #2
    It's too late. You've already been conned.
     
  4. Feb 11, 2010 #3
    For starters, watch every Derren Brown Youtube you can find, identify and analyze all the techniques he uses to render people suggestible, and then be aware when people seem to be doing the same things to you.

    Another thing to read up on is the NLP concept of "anchors".

    As Tony Robbins says in the movie Shallow Hal, "Everyone's already hypnotized anyway". To the extent you can observe that going on all around you, you can pull back from it and increase your immunity.

    It's highly doubtful anyone's ever going to try and hypnotize you to commit a crime but they absolutely WILL try and hypnotize you to part with your money for things that don't work as described, or that you really don't need, or particularly want. Being sales-pitch, and scam resistant is a good quality to have.
     
  5. Feb 11, 2010 #4
    Ya I know they use conversational hypnosis everywhere in ads, sales, ect. Hence only option I think is to be aware(know) of whats happening.

    Very informative reply. Thanks for the reference, I ll check them out.
     
  6. Feb 11, 2010 #5
    One of the top computer hackers Kevin Mitnic said that it's much easier to get passwords and information from people than actually go through all the trouble and hack into computers.

    check out the "Art of Deception"

    https://www.amazon.com/Art-Deceptio...=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265931616&sr=8-2


    The keyword is social engineering which basically refines what con artists have been doing.

    It's pretty ridiculous and scary. There were cases of hackers walking into company building by pretending being someone else, and get employees to reveal crucial information, and get them to give access to computer terminals where the hacker installs key-loggers and other malicious software.

    Here is a list of cognitive biases that con artists can exploit:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. Feb 12, 2010 #6
    I'd like to add a less cerebral list of qualities that can make a person both highly suggestible to hypnosis and render them good prey for scam artists:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_manipulation
     
  8. Feb 12, 2010 #7
    This is interesting:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Con_artist

    Derren Brown recreates this very trick in one of his episodes. After politely asking a stranger for directions, and seeking assurances that he's not bothering them, he has quickly put them in a position where they like him, and want nothing more than to help him. Then he politely asks if he can see their wallet. They take it out and show it to him. He reaches for it, so apparently innocently, that they hand it to him. Then he walks away, with an air of purpose, as if they'll soon see what he's up to, but that it's all good. The thing seems to work by getting them to like him, then simply acting like it's all on the up and up: the request for the wallet is not betrayed to be any different than the request for directions. They're confused, to be sure, but since he's established himself as likable and polite, it's very hard for them to recast him in their mind as a thief. By the time they do, he's gone.
     
  9. Feb 12, 2010 #8
    The wallet trick is flawless:




    There is so much going on here. Derren mirrors the victim's body posture to establish rapport. He then walks away from the victim to get him approach. Once the victim approached, Derren makes the killer move. He Holds the victim's hand, and hands him his bottled water. This is a very strong message. It quickly induces a sense of "I like you," and "you can trust me." It causes one to forget that you are interacting with a complete stranger.

    The rest is easy: "Can I see your wallet please? ... Oh and your house keys too"
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  10. Feb 12, 2010 #9
    This is weird: I see he never even takes the man's wallet. He takes his watch, his keys, then his phone. The title leaves you remembering him having taken the guy's wallet.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  11. Feb 12, 2010 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    Bull. That is staged. You are the ones being duped, not the guy with the watch.

    And I know exactly how he did it. :biggrin:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  12. Feb 12, 2010 #11

    Doc Al

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    Realize that Derren Brown is an entertainer and that he uses 'any means necessary' to achieve his goal--including standard magic gimmicks and plain old lying and cheating. Not just his powers of suggestion. :wink:
     
  13. Feb 12, 2010 #12
    That's right. He's an entertainer. One of the arguments is that his tricks make people believe that a phenomena is purely psychological in nature. When in fact he just did a clever trick and wants us to believe that human mind is prone to deception. So I understand that Derren cannot be trusted. However, there are genuine cases where people are exploited similarly how Derren exploits subjects on his show.

    There was a famous case of a psycho calling restaurants and getting employees strip themselves just by talking on the phone:




    if people can do this with the power of words what else can people do?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  14. Feb 12, 2010 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    There is a little trick that I pull every now and then just to see if I get a bite. While at the checkstand at a store, I will pull out a five dollar bill and quickly ask the cashier if I can get two tens for a five. A few people have actually handed me the money before the problem occurred to them.
     
  15. Feb 12, 2010 #14
    How did he do it? How do real pick pocketers steal watches?
     
  16. Feb 12, 2010 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    Waht, we need a published paper in order to support a claim like this. Youtube is not a source.
     
  17. Feb 12, 2010 #16
    The imperius curse :eek:
     
  18. Feb 12, 2010 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    It was staged. The victim is in on the prank being played on you.

    That is a different matter. Pockets are picked through a combination of skilled removal, and a distraction, like bumping into the pigeon. It has nothing to do with hypnosis.
     
  19. Feb 12, 2010 #18
    Which are you asserting about the video? That Brown pulled a version of the old change trick or that the whole thing was "staged": the man he got the watch from was an actor paid to follow a script?
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  20. Feb 13, 2010 #19
    True, but I'm not sure what your point is. Standard magic gimmicks and plain old lying and cheating are among the tools he uses to render people suggestible. He claims: "I mix magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship".
     
  21. Feb 13, 2010 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    The guy with the watch was in on it.

    Nonetheless, the claim that so-called covert hypnosis is possible, must be supported with scientific references. This is a claim that can be tested so there is no need for debate.

    The thread can be reopened if valid references are provided.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  22. Feb 13, 2010 #21

    Ivan Seeking

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    Late edit
     
  23. Feb 14, 2010 #22

    Ivan Seeking

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    Zooby has provided some information suggesting that we may be seeing an example of "alert hypnosis". I don't question the existence of alert hypnosis so much as the claim that this is what we see in the video. The thread is open for the sole purpose of exploring this possibility and any related information. What is on trial here, so to speak, is Derren Brown.

    This is an excerpt from my response to Zooby. It was intended to be applied generally to this discussion.

     
  24. Feb 14, 2010 #23
    Actually, "alert hypnosis" was a secondary, but applicable, thing I explained. The more important phenomenon was Erickson's "Indirect Hypnosis.

    Here is the PM I sent you:

    Re: proof of "covert hypnosis":

    The particular technique Brown uses in that segment was invented by a pretty well credentialed and well known psychiatrist and hypnotherapist named Milton Erickson. It's called a "handshake induction" and it's part of a larger body of stuff he called "confusion technique".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_H._Erickson

    Erickson's explanation of the psychology behind it is there in detail.

    Erickson called a lot of what he did "Indirect Hypnosis": the subject is not told he is being hypnotized or that he's about to receive any suggestions. "Covert Hypnosis" is apparently some second or third party's term for the same thing.

    I called Erickson "well credentialed". That's an understatement. The American Journal of Psychiatry asserts he is considered "the father of modern clinical hypnosis":

    http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/ajp;162/7/1255 [Broken]

    That constitutes, at least, implied peer reviewed endorsement of his "Indirect Hypnosis".

    There is also a thing pertinent to some Derren Brown segments called "Alert Hypnosis", developed by various people, which is a phenomenon that requires no trance state:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4087/is_200604/ai_n17188642/

    The whole paper is at the link.

    Derren Brown borrows techniques from Erickson and Alert Hypnosis, but in his book Tricks of he Mind, he says he feels the term "hypnosis", creates the expectation of a trance and other usual concommitants he doesn't use, and is not appropriate for what he does. "'Suggestive techniques', for example, could be a better term for what might be used in a situation where hypnosis is apparently happening but the obvious trappings of trance and so on are absent," he says. p.133

    The suggestion you offered, but then abandoned, that the video demonstrated something like the money changing scam, was pretty close to the mark, because the operative dynamic is to confuse the victim. I was hoping you were going to stick to that one because then we might agree it is possible to simply talk someone out of their valuables if you confuse them in the right way. Erickson considered confused states a form of trance, and essentially hypnosis. Whether or not the money changing scam is hypnosis, is, therefore, semantics. It constitutes psychologically manipulating someone without their knowledge, which is the essence, I believe, of what the opening poster was worried about.

    If you decide to claim it was a completely staged segment, that the alleged "victim" was in on it the whole time, without having anything to back that up, you're just making a bald assertion.


    If you go to the wiki link and read, at the very least, the sections on "confusion technique" and "handshake induction" you will be able to recognize Brown doing a variation of this to the man in the video. Waht mentioned and noticed the business with the water bottle, but misinterpreted it as a means of creating trust.

    We, watching the video, know Derren Brown is up to something, but you have to put yourself in the position of the man, whose never seen him before, is not anticipating anything in particular, and is walking around that area for the first time (he says: "I'm not from here," when Derren first asks directions).

    This is not alert hypnosis, but Erickson's "Indirect Hypnosis", confusion technique, handshake induction.

    The man is not "unaware" Brown is taking his stuff, he has been rendered unable to critically examine why he's taking it: he's extremely confused by the cognitive dissonance between the weird handshake and Brown's acting like everything is normal. Brown then gives him a definite task to perform: giving him the watch, which the man complies with because, according to Milton Erickson, when we're confused, any definite course of action seems like relief from the confusion.


    When you ask a cashier if you can have two tens for a five, I surmise what happens is they suppose you have mispoken, reversing what you meant to say, but that it would be impolite to correct you, or interrupt the flow of good feeling. Preoccupied with maintaining goodwill, they might start to comply with your request, completely losing sight of the fact a five is not worth two tens. They're not unaware of giving you two tens, their ability to critically examine what that means has been briefly circumvented by their preoccupation with being nice. If you confused them even more, you could have walked out of the store with the tens.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  25. Feb 15, 2010 #24
    This is likely what Brown did. I suppose it's a more sophisticated attack that would require more honing to get right than the average con artist might be willing to do. What I was referring to, is the exploitation of emotions. By asking someone for directions, you put yourself in a position of knowing less, and the subject of knowing more. Some people may feel thrilled at the possibility of giving directions. It makes the subject feel important. But at times can impair their judgment.

    Another aspect of the con is making an innocent body contact with the subject like handshake (I'm not referring to handshake hypnosis), and touching people on the shoulder or hand. Derren Brown taps many people on his show. If done right, it's a big complement. And makes a lasting impression. But Brown is doing it for hypnosis and confusion.

    A good car salesmen for example will use some of these tricks to get you on their page. They do this by giving customers an opportunity to feel good about themselves and be appreciated.
     
  26. Feb 15, 2010 #25

    Ivan Seeking

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    When I watch the video, I see no reason for any confusion. He just hands the stuff over. My BS meter is pegged. Why should we believe this man is confused? Brown only asked for directions. Just because we have certain techniques that can be claimed, that doesn't imply that this is what Brown is doing. What tells me that Brown isn't just feigning something that is in fact much more complicated; not so easy to do?

    Has Brown ever been tested under controlled conditions, or do we only have youtube videos and tv shows?
     
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