This blog explores game theory and decision science and the use of power and influence. If you have ab interest in the ideas of Jan von Neumann and John Nash you will find this of interest.
Influence and Highly Suggestive Psychological States
Research shows that all people are suggestible some of the time and that this suggestibility can be enhanced in a state of trance or altered states of consciousness. What is a trance state or an altered state of consciousness? There is no single definition. However, when a person involved with influence uses the term, he or she is speaking about an experience of non-ordinary reality. This is the type of state one is in when practicing creative visualization, listening to certain types of music, enjoying a massage, exercising, in deep prayer, meditating, in a deeply emotional state, and when one is being hypnotized.
When Masters of Influence apply their skills they keep the following guidelines at hand;
Some individuals are more easily influenced than others.
Some individuals respond to different styles of influence. Some respond to a more demanding, directed, and authoritative style while others respond to a more permissive style guided by requests and suggestions.
When a person who is highly suggestible is placed in an altered state of consciousness, or a trance-state, they become even more suggestible, even more susceptible to influence.
Skilled individuals can, through internal dialogue, bring themselves to a trance-like state and through internal dialogue inject suggestions into their own subconscious. The aim of this is to ultimately shift beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.
The focus of the this guidebook is to explore these trance states and techniques used for entering them, and to provide different scripts that can be used to create influence on a subconscious level.
Are there limits to influence? Clearly, you cannot influence someone to do something beyond human capabilities. You cannot influence someone to flap one’s arms, but you can influence biological function through thought. Who can know just how fast the fastest human being can run? What is the limitation of a basketball coach to move a team to a level of performance that would have seemed impossible? Can a person be influenced to such an extreme level that it might be called “brain-washing”? Can a person, as in the movie the Manchurian Candidate, be so influenced, unwillingly and without knowledge that they are permanently transformed into a person with completely different ethics, beliefs, and habits? With rare exceptions, the answer is probably no, but that doesn’t mean that a person cannot be deeply influenced on a subconscious level.
Brain Wave Changes and Influence
Brain researchers now know that such extraordinary states as trance states and extreme emotional change produce measurable shifts in brain activity. This type of activity is commonly defined as brain wave activity. Brain waves can be measured (as cycles per second, called hertz) and an understanding of brain waves can be an important tool in addressing when and how influence may be most effectively applied.
Through data collected by electroencephalography (EEGs), four major brain-wave patterns – frequency of electrical impulses firing from the brain – have been identified. They are Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta waves. The beta state (alert/working) is defined as 14–32 Hz, the alpha state (relaxed/reflecting) as the 7–14 Hz, the theta state (visual imagery) as 4–7 Hz, and the delta state (sleeping/dreaming/deep sleep) as approximately 3–5 Hz.
Altered State theorists believe that an altered state of consciousness is a core element in maintaining long-term influence. When a receiver is seeking to change a behavior on a deeply rooted level, he or she is in essence giving the influencer permission to guide him or her into a highly suggestive state. This process entails moving the receiver into a specific brain wave pattern related to altered states – alpha, theta, and delta – and make verbal suggestions, stated in such a way as to “implant” the suggestion in the receiver’s subconscious mind. It is important to direct the receiver’s induction process in such a way as to move them into one of these brain wave states.
Neuropsychological theories of hypnosis attempt to explain hypnotic phenomena in terms of alterations in brain activity. Based on large amounts of EEG research, hypnosis appears to shift brain activity to the anterior cingulate cortex and left prefrontal cortex in those susceptible. How connected this is either to altered states of consciousness or influence is still being researched.
One controlled scientific experiment postulated that hypnosis might alter a receiver’s perception of conscious experience in a way impossible when not “hypnotized” (at least in “highly hypnotizable” people).
Whatever the research determines, one thing is clear – all of us at one time or another has been in an altered state of consciousness. This is not as radical a concept as it might seem. You have experienced an altered state of consciousness many times if you have ever practiced visualization exercises, trusted your intuition, daydreamed, or driven a car “on automatic pilot.” Do you remember the time when your mind seemed to wander somewhere else and yet the car drove safely for miles even getting off at the correct exit?
There is no single defining factor of what this state consists of; however, there are various recognizable factors that indicate that a person has entered this state.
There is a sense of egoless-ness. It is as if a person feels that he or she is merging with people and objects around the environment, as if in a single state of consciousness.
2. A distorted sense of time and space. There is a breakdown of normal boundaries. Intuition takes over in situations where a rational approach was the normal operating model.
3. An intense and accurate sensitivity to the emotional states of others.
4. A trance like state often called the state of “flow”. Because an altered state of consciousness is generally noted through external observation, it is difficult to measure it with the traditional tools of empirical science, other than certain biofeedback machines. However, as the sciences of mathematics and physics have integrated more and more theoretical ideas into rational theory, the esoteric arts and sciences have filtered into Western academic thought. This in turn has filtered into the art and science of influence.
Lewis Harrison is teacher, author and mentor. He is the offers seminars and coaching on influence and personal power.
Learn more about his work at www.HowtoSolveAnyProblem.com
He is also the owner of a retreat center at www.TheCatskillsBedandBreakfast.com
His book Healing Depression naturally is available on Kindle