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Why Hypnosis is a Pseudoscience

  • Subject: Science
  • Essay Topic: Pseudoscience
  • Page: 1
  • Words: 475
  • Published: 12 March 2019
  • Downloads: 53
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While hypnosis has been around since ancient times, its study as a ‘science’ occurred first in the 1700’s. A German doctor, Franz Mesmer, used this in the treatment of his patients, leading many to a newfound interest in hypnosis. Though originally thought of a science, and used to treat patients, it is clear now that hypnosis meets the criteria for being a pseudoscience. Many people use the term ‘science’ lightly, including myself until now, and you consider hypnosis to be a science. However, if we look at the criteria to consider something a science, it becomes evident that many of these subjects are actually pseudosciences. A scientific theory must be testable, progressive, correctable, consistent, parsimonious, and useful. A pseudoscience, therefore, does not contain all of these characteristics. Often, a pseudoscience will rely on blind faith and seriously lack evidence or testing. Pseudoscientists do not need to form theories or hypotheses, and do not need to provide test results or observations in order to distribute or publish their ideas. This makes it easy to fall into the trap of believing a pseudoscience is a true science. For myself, I might have believed that hypnosis was a real science due to its popularity and uses in television. While it seems trivial, over the years I have seen many instances in which even law enforcement uses hypnosis or hypnotherapy. For example, I have seen hypnosis used for memory recall in instances of witnesses unable to remember important events. On top of this, without previously knowing the criteria to be considered a science, it was easy to simply believe that this was, in fact, a science.

Specifically in the case of hypnosis, one can look at the many characteristics of a pseudoscience and come to the conclusion that hypnosis fits the bill. First of all, there is not standard scientific method that hypnosis follows in order to make it uniform. This produces skewed test results due to the varying testing environments and procedures. Unreliable test results make accurate observations and hypotheses nearly impossible to form and therefore make hypnosis impossible to be a science. Further, it is easy to spin the results of hypnosis in order to support theories that pseudoscientists produce. Unlike a true science, hypnosis is not tested in laboratories, but rather it is often tested in unverifiable conditions, under manipulated circumstances. For example, since it is not observed or tested under the same conditions all the time, it is difficult to formulate symmetrical or reliable evidence. Additionally, most of the time it is impossible to determine if the results of hypnosis are due to the actual hypnosis, or due to other underlying factors. While hypnosis may initially appear to be a science, its inability to follow the scientific method or produce verifiable results and observations renders it a pseudoscience.

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Why Hypnosis is a Pseudoscience. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 9, 2023, from
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