Increasing intelligence through self hypnosis?

#15

Postby jargan » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:30 pm

Yes, very interesting indeed.

My personal theory (in the non-scientific sense) is that intelligence is a function of how much you are stimulated by the environment (and by yourself) and how much variety there is in that stimulation. It makes sense to me to assume that often, first-born children receive more individualized attention than twins or younger siblings. That's not the full story, of course, because attention by itself does not stimulate. There is also a kind of indulging attention where the kid actually gets to not have to deal with anything complicated (read: stimulating). It would be fun to do a real study on that, but I'm not in a position to do that (and you could only really do a correlation study unless you don't care about ethical research).

So, according to the "theory of stimulation", intelligence develops by not doing things completely on autopilot, but by actively seeking out new things, new thoughts, new ideas and so on. Of course that doesn't have any definite meaning because I have not defined intelligence.

Which brings me to my slightly more detailed answer to the original question: I expect self-hypnosis to be helpful in increasing intelligence, but not directly. Rather, it can nudge you towards doing more things that increase your intelligence.
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#16

Postby Ben1987 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:13 pm

>>> and you couldn't refute me. That kind of "not scientifically documented".

Rereading my own post I have not claimed that it's per se impossible
to alter intelligence, just that there are no current methods for doing so.
In my understanding a method has to show it's effect under controlled conditions, to be regarded
as effective. How else - should we know it's indeed working?



>>> My point isn't that some definitions are better than others (even though that might well be the case), but that there is none that is clearly "much more correct" than the others. All functional definitions (i.e. definitions that explain intelligence by its results or "intentions") are absolutely sufficient for use in standard language, but they do not provide any insight into what precisely intelligence is made out of, so to speak.

My point wasn't either to discss the validity of different definitions of intelligence.
Simply in absentium of any essential definitions of intelligence, we have to retreat to
a functional one.



>>>Now, how can we make an absolute statement about how immutable intelligence is when we don't even know what "causes" it? We have many data points that tell us that random things we've tried have not resulted in more intelligence by most functional definitions. We also have data points that say that there are correlations between intelligence (according to different functional definitions) and various other things. (And, of course, as serious scientists we know that correlation does not imply causation.)

--> see above


>>>What we definitely don't have is: a) data points that generally exclude the possibility of influencing intelligence,

-> see above



-Ben
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#17

Postby jargan » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:21 pm

Ben1987 wrote:Rereading my own post I have not claimed that it's per se impossible to alter intelligence, just that there are no current methods for doing so.

True. I just wanted to emphasize that the possibility still exists, since some people tend to jump to conclusions if someone says that "there are no current methods" (or something like that). It also looked like you were referring to certain "static" properties of the brain as an informal explanation of why there are no methods, and I wanted to point out that since we don't know of any causal relationships between intelligence and these static properties, that explanation is not perfectly applicable.
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#18

Postby Ben1987 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:03 pm

Hey, jargan

Yes maybe we just misunderstood each other in that besaid point,
which can sometimes happen easily within a forum.

Indeed I personally adhere to a physicallistic understanding of the human mind.
(This was the silent presupposition here. ^^) Which proposes that properties of the mind,
would find their basis in structural properties of it's substrate - the brain.
Since many properties of the brain are static, while other are dynamic, one create alterations either:
1.) within this given dynamic range.
2.) by altering that static properties.

Both options point out ways to ultimately alter intelligence,
albeit those methods might not exist today.


You're completely right, if you claim so far there are only correlations between
certain structural features and intelligence, no real casual explanation.

Yet, within the proposed frame (physicallistic understanding of the human mind), you could well claim
that it's the structural make-up of the brain that determines intelligence amongst other traits, even
if you can not point out their identity exactly, IMHO. Does this make sense to you?



You pointed out some IMHO very interesting thoughts relating intelligence to
stimulation. Do you have any particular ideas how to draw practical
ramifications out of this? Maybe in relation to hypnosis?


-Ben
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#19

Postby jargan » Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:50 am

Hey Ben,

>> Yes maybe we just misunderstood each other in that besaid point,
which can sometimes happen easily within a forum.

Oh yes. A couple of years ago I was into getting really worked up about discussions on forums. I don't take these things quite that seriously anymore. Works for me.

>> Indeed I personally adhere to a physicallistic understanding of the human mind.
>> (This was the silent presupposition here. ^^) Which proposes that properties of the mind, would find their basis in structural properties of it's substrate - the brain.
>> Since many properties of the brain are static, while other are dynamic, one create alterations either:
>> 1.) within this given dynamic range.
>> 2.) by altering that static properties.

Well, my own understanding of the brain is a bit different. Since we're far removed from actual proof, of course this is just another trip into wild speculations.

I hear that intelligence is not so much a question of the really static properties of the brain, such as the size. I have a background in machine learning that has strongly influenced my take on how brains might work.

For one thing, the connections between the neurons in the brain do change during the course of your life. I also hear that, for example, when they sliced open the brains of chain smokers in postmortem studies, they found vastly increased amounts of nACh receptors.

Another thing that I believe plays an important role is that there is no "default state" of the brain. I have to assume that, since humans do not simply mechanically react to their environment, there are some internal processes that keep going. It does not make a lot of sense for these processes to magically disappear completely, then spontaneously resume later. So, there is likely some kind of internal "state" maintained in the form of continuous neural activity.

I see memory and learning and pretty much any cognitive or autonomous function of the brain as being encoded in neural activity in ways that defy easy understanding. For the more scientifically inclined, we might see the complete nervous system of a living being as a gargantuan finite state machine with a few sensors and actuators. That's a very mechanistic view, of course, but there's no way to prove or disprove something that unspecific and abstract, so I hope nobody here will be too tempted to turn this into a huge discussion about metaphysics.

So, here we have two things that are not static at all: the interconnection between neurons and the continuous neural activity that is (necessarily, otherwise learning would not be possible at all) influenced both by itself and by external factors. If I claim that intelligence "magically arises" out of these factors, it follows that it's theoretically possible to increase or decrease intelligence.

You could well be right that intelligence is one of the static properties, but I have seen too many so-called miracles in the general area of hypnosis to believe that. Don't most psychologists believe that it's a long and involved process to eliminate phobias? Yet we know hypnotists who can do it in less than twenty minutes (in a notable number of cases, anyway). If I had never heard of these things, I might not have believed them to be possible, and never have attempted to increase the amount of influence I can exert over others. As far as I am concerned, my base belief in psychological/mental flexibility and change is useful to me because it makes me actually try to make weird things happen.

>> You pointed out some IMHO very interesting thoughts relating intelligence to stimulation. Do you have any particular ideas how to draw practical ramifications out of this? Maybe in relation to hypnosis?

Well, I tend to view hypnosis (hypnotherapy, mostly) as using two different angles.

One, using the existing beliefs of a client to create new beliefs (for example, someone who knows about hypnosis and sees you as an effective hypnotist is easy to get to adopt new beliefs that serve him and/or you). Basically, here we go from the things someone has "rehearsed" so often that they are automatic, implicit, habitual.

Two, sort of the opposite: finding gaps in the automatisms clients have collected, and putting useful stuff in there. We use pattern interrupts, for example, to quickly get the whole trance thing going. Incidentally, you can also use this principle to ruin rapid inductions for someone: just do a couple of rapid inductions but fail to get them anywhere, and tell them that it's "not working". Guess how long it'll take until they'll never respond to any standard rapid induction ever again...

I think you get the real power of hypnosis if you combine the two. Build on existing automatisms and also find places on the mental map where it's easy to add new stuff (or do ten trillion repetitions instead).

Now, number one is easy to do even when you're doing self-hypnosis. Number two, however, is about (a) finding the outer borders of the client's mental map (which is not too easy to do on yourself) and (b) putting new things there that wouldn't automatically occur to the client in that particular position.
So, I might call that a kind of strategic stimulation. But it's the boring kind of stimulation: stuff that is just basically funnelled into the client's mind at the right point in time. It might contribute to the client's intelligence, but only so much.
In the end, to me (perhaps controversially so), intelligence is about being open to new ideas. To do that, you have to be able to recognize that you can never be completely certain about anything. You have to question what others say and even what you yourself believe. You also have to be able to pick up patterns, but I honestly believe that everyone can do that. The brain appears to be an excellent pattern matching device... which you'll appreciate if you ever take a crash course in machine learning. Ants are probably more intelligent than we can make machines.

Well, I happen to believe that so-called stupid people are just those who aren't open to ideas. People to who it has never occurred to be creative, perhaps, or people who have been strongly discouraged from considering alternative points of view, or stuff like that.
I know so many people who say something like, "eh, I can't do that. I'm not smart enough." C'mon, I'm not buying that. I'm a firm believer that anyone can learn anything, given the right strategy, good instruction and enough time. Both is usually missing, so it's no wonder that so many people should believe that they suck at handling computers, finances, law, you name it.

Oh, and by the way... we know that old age is correlated with deteriorating mental capacities, right? But what causes this connection? I know people who started sharply degrading pretty just a couple of weeks after they retired. And I know people who are eighty-something and who are making their own websites. I don't find it at all unreasonable to believe that it's what they expect to happen, and that makes it happen. Just like placebos, only with more wrinkles.

I hope that wasn't too much random rambling now. ;)
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#20

Postby Lazerald » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:24 pm

So... If we were to attempt this, what kind of suggestion would we use? I feel like it would be something rather complex and specific not like, "I'm becoming more intelligent as I go down each stair", etc.. lol
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#21

Postby divrom » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:37 pm

Lazerald wrote:So... If we were to attempt this, what kind of suggestion would we use? I feel like it would be something rather complex and specific not like, "I'm becoming more intelligent as I go down each stair", etc.. lol


Intelligence is not as simple as that. If hypnosis was going to work it would take complex work to address things like:

Emotional Intelligence
Learning in ways appropriate to oneself and one's environment
Memory: Retention and recall
Logic and problem-solving skills
Social courage and "confidence"
Imagination skills
Capacity for - and comfort with - abstract thought
Ability to comprehend relationships/associations
Humility
Curiosity

At least, that's what I had to develop to become the mental genius that you see before you today!
:wink:
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#22

Postby Lazerald » Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:21 pm

divrom wrote:
Lazerald wrote:So... If we were to attempt this, what kind of suggestion would we use? I feel like it would be something rather complex and specific not like, "I'm becoming more intelligent as I go down each stair", etc.. lol


Intelligence is not as simple as that. If hypnosis was going to work it would take complex work to address things like:

Emotional Intelligence
Learning in ways appropriate to oneself and one's environment
Memory: Retention and recall
Logic and problem-solving skills
Social courage and "confidence"
Imagination skills
Capacity for - and comfort with - abstract thought
Ability to comprehend relationships/associations
Humility
Curiosity

At least, that's what I had to develop to become the mental genius that you see before you today!
:wink:


There was a study done in the Soviet Union showing that a group of men using pure visualization improved there strength more then a group using just weights.. This is interesting.. If they could strengthen there muscles through visualization, surely we can strengthen our neurons, or make them more efficient through visualization.. The problem is, how would one do this?

I can easily imagine my self bench pressing 1,000 KG, but how would I paint a picture in my head to stimulate my neurons, Grey, or white matter? I think hypnosis can alter neurons efficiency, but I have no idea how one would go by doing that..
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#23

Postby jargan » Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:54 pm

There is no such thing as "neuron efficiency". The individual neurons don't make you smarter, the neural network as a whole does.

Anyway, first decide which aspect of intelligence you want to work on, then we can think about how to do that.
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#24

Postby Ben1987 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:55 pm

@jargan

Thanks for putting your effort in to create such an extensive and interesting post!


This thread is becoming more and more interesting, maybe we can create something useful out of it? :)


-Ben
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#25

Postby jargan » Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:32 pm

My bottom line is that in order to become "more intelligent", the best thing to do is to change your self-image. I've always been hailed as "really smart" by my parents, so I'm not a good example of that because I've had that self-image all my life, so I'm going to use something else as an example, something that I believe works pretty much the same way.

I used to be shy. Really shy. It would take me weeks to warm up to someone (if that person wasn't extremely good at creating connections quickly, anyway), and before that I would hardly talk to them at all, even if I "had to".

Now, shyness is usually seen as something that just is. If you're shy, you're shy and that's that. You have to accept it and/or struggle with it for the rest of your life. Right? Well, I disagree.

What I did, eventually, was to change my own self-image, but also my understanding of how personal connections actually work (one important step in getting more intelligent probably involves changing your understanding of intelligence, too, so you don't understand it as something that's inherently impossible to change).

I used to think that I was pretty weird and that it was really unlikely for people to like me, and at the same time I didn't really want to give up my entire personality just for more credit in the social game. Didn't stop me from doing it, however. I guess the reason I "couldn't" talk to people was that I had to figure out what they would want to hear before I dared say something.

Eventually it got to a point where it really interfered with my life. Curiously enough, it caused quite a few problems for me with people who were actually quite close to me... but that's a different story. Suffice to say, at some point I decided that something had to change, and I took a few weeks off to get it sorted out.

I think one of my most important realizations prior to that was that I always considered other people's feelings in personal relationships, but never really bothered thinking about my own until after the fact. I made a decision to keep considering the other side, but no longer at my own expense. Took a while until it "felt right" to focus on myself more than on others, I think. I don't quite remember all the details, though. My old thinking doesn't really feel real anymore.

That alone didn't magically turn things around, however (and please note that this is not a step-by-step guide, anyway... changing your mind is usually a more individual process than just following a list of steps). I still anticipated rejection if I focused on my own goals, and I wanted to avoid rejection... until I figured out for myself that rejection didn't matter. Again, I'm not getting into the details here since there's not much of a point to that.

At that point I stopped caring about getting rejected. It took some more time to realize that there was nothing wrong with not feeling bad if I had to say no to someone, and that there was nothing wrong with not feeling bad if I didn't have the perfect response to some kind of attack.

I don't think I could call myself "shy" anymore now. I'm not someone who runs around introducing himself to everyone, but I'm perfectly comfortable talking to people I've never met before.


At no point did I do any elaborate self-hypnosis to achieve that. I tried that earlier and it didn't work, probably because I didn't know what kinds of changes I needed.

So, I suggest that the best way to work on your intelligence is to go looking for ideas... ideas that are not about "this is impossible" or "it's really hard to do this or that". Look for ideas like "why on earth should my intelligence stay the same until the day I die?" Find out for yourself that learning happens over time, that you'll make mistakes on the way, that there is no reason to feel bad about those mistakes. That some changes are so small that you don't even notice them, and only later you suddenly realize that something has changed for the better while you were looking somewhere else. Be curious about what's possible, question your assumptions about how things work. Master the art of being able to consider two conflicting ideas without making a decision that one of them is wrong (e.g. "people are inherently bad" and "people are inherently good"). It takes creativity and open-mindedness to expand your mental horizons. Both of these are easy in the end, you just have to discover how to use them.
If you are wondering about something, indulge in a bit of research. For example, if you are wondering whether drinking tea has more advantages or disadvantages over drinking coffee, get different opinions (e.g. from, dare I say it, Wikipedia). If you have an opinion about something, always be prepared to revise it, to seriously consider arguments.

If you want to use self-hypnosis, your best bet is probably to build suggestions that nudge you in that direction. A suggestion like "I'm becoming more intelligent" is meaningless. How do you know that you have become more intelligent? Think about that.
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#26

Postby Joe100 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:03 am

At no point did I do any elaborate self-hypnosis to achieve that. I tried that earlier and it didn't work, probably because I didn't know what kinds of changes I needed.


Great post Jargan as usual.

Thats the crux of the issue many times.

A very very quick way to get to the heart of the issue is to ask the one simple question that can replace the entire metamodel.

"How do you know you aren't intelligent?"

The answer to that question will have the specific details you're missing.

I talk a lot about this on my DVD http://wikihyp.com/?p=113 when I introduce the SCRM model.

And so to the OP, how do you know that you aren't intelligent?

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#27

Postby jargan » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:28 pm

Possibly relevant to this discussion:

"Mindfulness meditation training changes brain structure in 8 weeks"
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 012111.php
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