Susceptibility to Hypnosis

Susceptibility to hypnosis might have a strong genetic component. Use the power of genomic science to uncover your full potential.

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Susceptibility to Hypnosis

Is the ability to be hypnotized in your DNA? Upload your raw DNA data to uncover your full potential. 

If you’ve ever tried – and failed – to be hypnotized, you might be somewhat skeptical of the concept of hypnosis. However, a growing body of evidence suggests a genetic component to the inability to achieve a hypnotic state.

We mostly see people being hypnotized in movies and TV, to a large extent as either a type of psychological manipulation or a parlor trick. While the portrayal of hypnosis in popular culture often strains credulity, there is abundant evidence that hypnotherapy is an effective tool for addressing numerous issues, including weight loss, pain management, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

But what is it, really?

What Is Susceptibility to Hypnosis?

Susceptibility to hypnosis is the ability to experience a hypnotized state. Hypnosis is a technique used to heighten a person's focus, create a sense of calm, and allow the person to be more receptive to suggestions by the hypnotist. Hypnotherapy is a treatment method that employs the principles of hypnosis to tackle issues such as trauma, addiction, and phobias.

How Does Hypnosis Work?

Hypnosis is divided into trance, hypnotic roleplaying, and archaic involvement. Trance is associated with altered self-consciousness and a sense of time and space, while hypnotic roleplaying and archaic involvement are when the hypnotist and the subject engage in interactions that model important relationships (such as maternal relationships).

A study conducted by researchers at Stanford University found that the state of hypnosis activates areas of the brain that process and control physical actions and sensations. Additionally, people under hypnosis experience lesser activity between the regions of the brain that direct action and the awareness of actions. When the two responses become disassociated, the person under hypnosis becomes suggestible to external commands. This phenomenon allows people to act without feeling reservations or self-consciousness. Moreover, people who can be hypnotized can learn to self-hypnotize, so they don’t have to rely upon an outside party.

Will Susceptibility to Hypnosis Improve Hypnotherapy Outcomes?

People with a high susceptibility to hypnosis are more likely to experience positive outcomes from hypnotherapy treatment than those who can’t be hypnotized or have difficulty achieving a state of hypnosis. Hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for chronic pain, insomnia, certain eating disorders, stress, and might be a promising therapeutic intervention for some addiction disorders, though more research is needed. However, because not everyone can experience hypnosis, this beneficial therapeutic tool has limited efficacy across populations. So, why can some people be hypnotized while others can’t?

How Do Genes Affect Susceptibility to Hypnosis?

Whether you are very easily hypnotized or can’t be hypnotized despite multiple attempts, one of the factors that could influence your response might be the hypnotizability gene.

A Glimpse Into What the Studies Say

In three studies published in 2010, 2013, and 2017, hypnotizability was linked to mutations in the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, which codes for an enzyme that breaks down dopamine (a molecule involved in the reward pathway) part of the brain responsible for cognitive function. Investigators examined how variation in the COMT gene among 136 Caucasian individuals related to their hypnotizability. 

Hypnotizability was measured using a questionnaire and a behavioral scoring system. They found that those with the G/G allele (both coding for a specific amino acid, Valin) had the highest hypnotizability score. In contrast, those with one or two copies of the A allele (which codes for Methionine) had much lower hypnotizability scores. Those with the A/A gene variant were less likely to report hypnosis symptoms than those with the G/A mutation (one copy of the gene coding for Valin and another for Methionine).

While these studies indicate a genetic component to susceptibility to hypnosis, it is important to note that these are far from conclusive. However, the more we know about this trait, the better we will understand how our brains work!

Is Hypnotic Susceptibility Inherited?

It is often said that hypnotism is “all in the head,” but what if your ability to be hypnotized actually relied upon your genetic makeup? Knowing if you were more or less likely to be susceptible to hypnotism could prove helpful in many ways — whether you simply wanted to find out whether it was possible or if you wanted to explore hypnotherapy. 

Can you really change personal habits like smoking or overeating with the help of hypnotism? Wouldn’t it be great if something as easy and relaxing as a few hypnotism sessions could actually help you reach goals or improve your health? If you know you are genetically inclined to hypnotism, you might be more open to trying it. Fortunately, there are ways that you can find out! If you have taken an at-home DNA test with AncestryDNA, 23andMe, or another genetic testing provider, you can access your raw DNA file and analyze it for certain genetic traits. Genomelink offers in-depth genetic analysis for a wide variety of inheritable characteristics, including susceptibility to hypnosis, intelligence, capacity for multitasking, and much more.

Uncover the secrets of your genetic profile and unlock your full potential. Upload your raw DNA file to Genomelink today!

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