Martin S Taylor is a stage hypnotist with a twist- he doesn’t actually believe in hypnosis.

The latest guest speaker to join us at Forest as part of the Look Out lecture series, Martin’s talk- the final of 2017- was by turns eye-opening, informative and uproariously entertaining.

Martin started by explaining how psychologists have dramatically revised their ideas about how hypnosis works; the modern theory is that of social compliance. Broadly speaking, this means that there is no altered state when you are hypnotised – no trance, no sleep, and nothing mysterious at all. Hypnosis simply works because the subjects believe it will.

Martin pointed out how it works on stage through the hypnotist’s skill in combining three factors: suggestion, social pressure and simple obedience. In a funny though informative lecture he illustrated his point through reference to Stanley’s Milgram’s notorious 1963 experiments, sharing the theories underpinning hypnosis, before delighting the audience with a full-blown stage performance involving over 30 volunteers from the audience. By the end of the lecture and performance it was easy to see why a young Derren Brown- who watched Martin’s act whilst a student at university- was inspired to follow in his footsteps.

What the Pupils Said:

“I really enjoyed the lecture; I think he captivated the whole audience. I liked hearing the background then seeing it in practice.”

“I’m sceptical of ‘hypnosis’ but I found his talk very informative and very funny. It was a great talk.”

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