Here at Scientific American we pride ourselves on our skepticism toward pseudoscience and on our hard-nosed insistence on solid research. So when we invited Michael R. Nash of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville to write the accompanying article on the scientific basis of hypnosis, we warned him that we'd put him through the wringer--which we did. But while editing the article, we began to wonder: Isn't this something we should experience ourselves? How many of us would be hypnotizable?
We invited Nash and research psychologist Grant Benham to New York so we could see what hypnosis was like firsthand. Six editorial staffers--three men and three women, none of whom had been hypnotized before--were willing to give it a try. What we found surprised us.