When the fascinator Messmer asks a participant under hypnosis to raise an arm, the latter will do it by a form of automatism: in individuals who respond best to hypnosis, the movement of the arm is perceived as a non-voluntary guided response by someone other than themselves. This is called the feeling of automaticity.

Thanks to theimagery (Imaging is first and foremost the making and trading of physical images that represent people or things … Manufacturing is …) by resonance (When one abandons a stable system previously removed from its position of equilibrium, it returns there, generally through own oscillations, which occur at the natural frequency of …) Magnetic Resonance (MRI), it is possible to predict, in a way, that a person under hypnosis (The term hypnosis refers to a modified state of consciousness as well as the techniques for creating that state and the therapeutic practices used during that state.) will feel this sense of automaticity by observing the regions of the brain (The brain is the main organ of the central nervous system of animals.The brain processes information from the senses, controls many body functions, including voluntary motricity, and is …) engaged in the production and perception of his own movements.

This is what Professor Pierre Rainville of the Department of Stomatology of the Faculty of medicine (Medicine (from the Latin medicus, "who heals") is science and practice (art) studying the organization of the human body (anatomy), sound …) Dental of theUniversity (A university is an institution of higher education whose objective is the production of knowledge (research), its conservation and its transmission (studies …) of Montreal (Montreal is at the same time administrative region and metropolis of Quebec (2) This big Canadian agglomeration constitutes a major center of trade, industry, culture, …), with colleagues Anouk Streff, Jen-I Chen, Bérengère Houzé and Carolane Desmarteaux, from the research (Scientific research refers primarily to all actions undertaken to produce and develop scientific knowledge, by extension …) of the'Institute (An institute is a permanent organization created for a certain purpose, usually a research institution, for example, the …) University of Geriatrics of Montreal, in collaboration with Mathieu Piché, from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.


The study conducted by Pierre Rainville and his colleagues shows that the feeling of automaticity, felt during a session of hypnosis, corresponds to an activity in the networks of the brain that underlie the faculty to act. Credit: Getty

Why do you want to identify the areas of the brain linked to the feeling of automaticity? "In order to better understand the response of patients to hypnosis sessions performed in a context (The context of an event includes the circumstances and conditions surrounding it, the context of a word, phrase or text includes the words that surround it.The concept of …) ", says Pierre Rainville recalling that the benefits of hypnosis are more and more documented, especially in the management of pain (Pain is the sensation felt by an organism whose nervous system detects a nociceptive stimulus.It usually corresponds to an alarm signal of the body to signify a questioning of its …), themitigation (Loss of intensity and amplitude of a signal …) headaches and migraine (The migraine (from ancient Greek ημικρανίον / êmikraníon, pain affecting the "half of the skull") …), the syndrome (A syndrome is a set of clinical signs and symptoms that a patient is likely to present during certain diseases, or in clinical circumstances of deviation to the standard not …) of colon (The colon, also called "large intestine", runs from the cecum to the rectum and is the terminal part of the intestine, belonging to the digestive system ….) irritable as well as the mastery (The master's degree is a university degree or diploma corresponding to the grade or title of "master." It exists in several …) of stress (Stress ("constraint" in English), or general syndrome of adaptation, is the set of responses of an organism subjected to environmental constraints.In everyday language, one …) and fromanxiety (Anxiety is for biological and behavioral phenomenological psychiatry, a state of alert, of psychological and somatic tension, …).

An apparent loss of control created by the brain


Pierre Rainville Credit: CRIUGM

Previous studies using MRI and physiology (The physiology (of the Greek φύσις, phusis, the nature, and λόγος, logos, the study, the science) studies the role, the operation and the mechanical organization, …) at the monkey (A monkey (from Latin simius, plural Simia) is an animal in the primate order group, and among primates it is not easy to define from which species the term monkey. .) have already shown the importance of feedback of information between the frontal motor region and the parietal region.

"For example, when a person grabs a cup of coffee, the cortex (In biology, the cortex (Latin word for bark) refers to the superficial or peripheral layer of an organic tissue.) engine (A motor (from the Latin mōtor: "the one who moves") is a device that moves matter by bringing power. and the parietal area of ​​the brain communicate together (In set theory, a set intuitively refers to a collection of objects (the elements of the set), "a multitude that can …" and make sure there is consistency between the cup and the hand (The hand is the prehensile effector organ located at the end of the forearm and connected to it by the wrist.It is an organ intended to grip and …) who takes it, explains Mr. Rainville. When we do such an action, we normally feel we are controlling our actions. "

The study he conducted with his colleagues aimed to determine whether hypnosis increases participants' sense of automaticity and, if so, which brain regions are responsible for it.

To do this, the researchers recruited 26 people health (Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not just the absence of disease or infirmity.), aged between 19 and 45, who have past (The past is first of all a concept related to time: it is made up of all the successive configurations of the world and opposes the future on …) an MRI exam. Images of brain activity were obtained before and after participants were asked to relax and focus on the voice they were hearing, and it was observed how their experience could be modified in this way. state.

The subjective experience of automaticity was measured on a scale of 1 to 10 on five occasions during the entire hypnosis session, during which the activity of the frontal and parietal regions of the brain of the participants was monitored.

Understand the mechanisms of the brain under hypnosis to better heal

"The MRI has allowed us to see that a region in play in the effect hypnotic (Hypnotics (or sleeping pills) are a class of drugs that have the property of inducing sleep or in common language to serve as a sedative for people who …) is the parietal operculum. The activity of this region is proportional to the feeling of automaticity reported by the participants, says Pierre Rainville. The activity of the operculum is coordinated with that of the lobe networks front (A front end is a computer equipment.) and allows us to predict what they will say! "

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the study is part of a programming (Programming in the computer field is the set of activities that allow the writing of computer programs, which is an important step in the design of software (even hardware, see VHDL).) research to better understand the mechanisms of pain control.

"It demonstrates that a subjective experience of the automaticity felt during a hypnosis session corresponds to an activity in the networks of the brain that underlie the meaning SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) is a scientific project aiming at the radical extension of human life expectancy, through a gradual evolution from the slowing down of aging, followed by its …) of agency, concludes the professor of the UdeM. Our findings may contribute to a better understanding of the effects of hypnosis on the response to suggestions in experimental and clinical settings. "

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