They Call It Hypnosis

Robert A. Baker, Author
Robert A. Baker, Author Prometheus Books $39.98 (313p) ISBN 978-0-87975-576-8
Reviewed on: 05/01/1990
Release date: 05/01/1990
There is no such thing as hypnosis, insists Baker. What we think of as an altered, trance-like state of consciousness in which people supposedly can remember minute details of childhood is a myth, he charges, claiming that so-called hypnotic memories are for the most part imaginary productions of fantasy-prone individuals receptive to suggestion. In this unpersuasive study, Baker, an retired psychology professor, presents a history of hypnosis from Franz Anton Mesmer's animal magnetism to Emile Coue's autosuggestion to the work of modern behavioral psychologists who view hypnosis as role enactment or compliance with an authority figure. He uses such concepts as confabulation (confusing fact with fiction) to dismiss hypnotized subjects' purported recall of past lives or of UFO abductions. Photos. (Aug.)
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