The following is a summary of Braid's
could not be induced by physical means alone.
(2) Hypnotic and so-called
mesmeric phenomena were subjective in origin, and both were excited by
direct or by indirect suggestion.
(3) Hypnosis was characterised by
physical as well as by psychical changes.
(4) The simultaneous
appearance of several phenomena was recognised, and much importance was
attached to the intelligent action of a secondary consciousness.
Volition was unimpaired, moral sense increased, and suggested crime
(6) Rapport was a purely artificial condition created by
(7) The importance of direct verbal suggestion was fully
recognised, as also the mental influence of physical methods.
was regarded as the device used for exciting the phenomena, and not
considered as sufficient to explain them.
(8) Important differences
existed between hypnosis and normal sleep.
(9) Hypnotic phenomena might
be induced without the subject having passed through any condition
(10) The mentally healthy were the easiest, the
hysterical the most difficult, to influence.
In England, during Braid's lifetime, his
earlier views were largely
adopted by certain well-known men of science, particularly by
W.B. Carpenter and J. Hughes Bennett, but they appear to have known
little or nothing of his latest theories. Bennett's
description of the
probable mental and physical conditions involved in the state Braid
described as "monoideism" is specially worthy of note. Not only is it
interesting in itself, but it serves also as a standard of comparison
with which to measure the theories of later observers, who have
attempted to explain hypnosis by cerebral inhibition, psychical
automatism, or both these conditions combined.
(a) Physiological.—According to Bennett,
hypnosis was characterised
by alterations in the functional activity of the nerve tubes of the
white matter of the cerebral lobes. He suggested that a certain
proportion of these became paralysed through continued monotonous
stimulation; while the action of others was consequently exalted. As
these tubes connected the cerebral ganglion-cells, suspension of their
functions was assumed to bring with it interruption of the connection
between the ganglion-cells.
(b) Psychical.—From the psychical side, he
explained the phenomena of
hypnosis by the action of predominant and unchecked ideas. These were
able to obtain prominence from the fact that other ideas, which, under
ordinary circumstances, would have controlled their development, did
arise, because the portion of the brain with which the latter were
associated had its action temporarily suspended—i.e., the
between the ganglion-cells was broken, owing to the interrupted
connection between the "fibres of association." Thus, he said, the
remembrance of a sensation could always be called up by the brain; but,
under ordinary circumstances, from the exercise of judgment,
and other mental faculties, we knew it was only a remembrance. When
these faculties were exhausted, the suggested idea predominated, and
individual believed in its reality. Thus, he attributed to the
of the mind a certain power of correcting the fallacies which each of
them was likely to fall into; just as the
illusions of one sense were
capable of being detected by the healthy use of the other senses. There
were mental and sensorial illusions, the former caused by predominant
ideas and corrected by proper reasoning, the latter caused by
of one sense and corrected by the right application of the others.
In hypnosis, according to this theory, a
suggested idea obtained
prominence and caused mental and sensorial illusions, because the check
action—the inhibitory power—of certain higher centres had been
temporarily suspended. These theories were first published by Professor
Bennett in 1851.