BBC 6 minute English-Hypnotism

BBC 6 minute English-Hypnotism

BBC 6 minute English-Hypnotism


Transcript of the podcast

Note: This is not a word-for-word transcript

.Rob: Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I’m Rob

.Sam: And I’m Sam

!Rob: Now, Sam, look into my eyes! You are feeling sleepy! Relax

?Sam: What are you doing, Rob? Trying to hypnotise me

Rob: Well, since hypnotism is the topic of this programme, I thought I’d give it a try! So how do you feel, Sam? Are you under my spell

Sam: 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 hypnotised and isn’t completely in control

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

Sam: Yes, some hypnotists make people do silly things for entertainment but hypnotism has real benefits as well – curing phobias, for example

Rob: 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

!Sam: Don’t worry, Rob. I won’t make you cluck like a chicken

Rob: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 hypnotise 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?, or ?c) Harry Houdini

Sam: Well, people who want to quit smoking sometimes use a kind of therapy involving hypnotism, so maybe it’s a) Sigmund Freud

Rob: OK, we’ll find out if that’s right at the end of the programme. One question that’s often asked is whether anyone can be hypnotised – or are there people, maybe like you, Sam, who are less hypnotisable than others

Sam: 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 hypnotisable than another, as he told BBC World Service programme, The Why Factor

:Rob: And listen out for the first thing he mentions

Prof Amir Raz

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

Nicola Kelly

…In fact, it’s about two things. First, absorption

Prof Amir Raz

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

Sam: People often think you can be easily hypnotised if you are suggestible,or easily influenced by others

?Rob: In fact, hypnotism is about two things. Did you hear the first thing, Sam

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

Rob: And getting absorbed can also mean you get sucked into something – become involved in a situation when you do not want to be involved

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

.Rob: But according to Professor Raz, there’s a second important part to being hypnotised: attention

Sam: Listen to the definition of attention Professor Raz gives to BBC World Service programme, The Why Factor

Prof Amir Raz

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

Rob: 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

Sam: 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 programme

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

Sam: 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

Rob: OK, Sam. I asked you which hypnotist was so famous that his name became used as a verb. And what did you say

.Sam: I guessed it was a) Sigmund Freud

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

Sam: Of course! And the word named after him was… mesmerised – to have your attention completely fixed so that you can’t think of anything else

Rob: 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

.Sam: Someone who is suggestible is easily influenced by other people

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

.Sam: And you might get sucked in – become involved in a situation that you don’t want to

Rob: Hypnotism also depends on concentration and the ability to hone in on something – to give something your full attention

Sam: …until you’re mesmerised – you have your attention completely fixed so that you cannot think of anything else

!Rob: That’s all for this hypnotic journey. Bye for now

!Sam: Bye bye

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