Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |
The Social role taking theory of hypnosis is one of a number of theories to explain hypnosis
The main theorist who pioneered the influential role-taking theory was Theodore Sarbin. Sarbin argued that hypnotic responses were motivated attempts to fulfill the socially-constructed role of hypnotic subject. This has led to the misconception that hypnotic subjects are simply "faking". However, Sarbin emphasised the difference between faking, in which there is little subjective identification with the role in question, and role-taking, in which the subject not only acts externally in accord with the role but also subjectively identifies with it to some degree, acting, thinking, and feeling "as if" they are hypnotised. Sarbin drew analogies between role-taking in hypnosis and role-taking in other areas such as method acting, mental illness, and shamanic possession, etc. This interpretation of hypnosis is particularly relevant to understanding stage hypnosis in which there is clearly strong peer pressure to comply with a socially-constructed role by performing accordingly on a theatrical stage.
Hence, the social constructionism and role-taking theory of hypnosis suggests that individuals are enacting (as opposed to merely playing) a role and that really there is no such thing as a hypnotic trance. A socially-constructed relationship is built depending on how much rapport has been established between the "hypnotist" and the subject (see Hawthorne effect, Pygmalion effect, and placebo effect).
Psychologists such as Robert Baker and Graham Wagstaff claim that what we call hypnosis is actually a form of learned social behaviour, a complex hybrid of social compliance, relaxation, and suggestibility that can account for many esoteric behavioural manifestations.Template:Page number