Monday, Oct 20, 2008
The world’s biggest leisure activity is watching television. Not walking or reading, not playing games with our children, not engaging with others in outdoor activities. Most of us like to think that television has absolutely no effect on how we think or what we do. We believe that it is a way to relax. Many of us may be surprised to know that television is a controlling medium, relaxing us enough to switch off our analytical brain (the left side of the brain) so that we uncritically, or unlogically, process the information beaming from the television. This means we are less able to make decisions or judgments about what we hear on television.
Our brains undergo a similar process under hypnosis. The similarity between hypnosis and the effects of watching television is unveiled in Dr Aric Sigman’s book called Remotely Controlled. Sigman describes hypnosis as “an altered state of consciousness”; a form of sleepwalking where our mind is influenced by another (the hypnotist or practitioner).
Under hypnosis we become more open to the suggestions of the practitioner and this happens as we are asked to refrain from being critical and relaxed. As we do this, the frontal lobe in our brain alters becoming less connected with the brain so that we switch off. Hypnosis effectively causes a change in the brain so that we use the right side of our brain. What we switch off is the left side used for critical thinking.
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While hypnosis may be considered an extreme or unusual solution to certain conditions, it only takes 30 seconds for us to be in a similar state when we switch on the television. Such were the findings from Professor Herbert Krugman in a study conducted in 1971. His conclusion was that we do not think about the information transmitted via television. In other words the way television communicates is a form of brainwashing.
Left in this state for some time can mean that we become less inventive in problem-solving and less able to concentrate. This suits some environments. In the UK, television is used to keep prisoners quiet. It is regarded as one of the best types of control mechanisms by the General Secretary of the Prison Governors’ Association. Prisoners are subjected to the tranquillising effects of television which subdues behaviour, and the other benefit is that it is a cheap and effective way to do that.
This article was posted: Monday, October 20, 2008 at 4:38 am