Darwin’s Daily & Hourly Dharma

I’m just going to leave this right here…

Ernest Rossi's "Darwin's Daily & Hourly Dharma" (from Rossi, Schirmer, & Rossi 2010, European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 10(1):63).

Ernest Rossi’s “Darwin’s Daily & Hourly Dharma” (from Rossi, Schirmer, & Rossi 2010, European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 10(1):63).

Yes, I know, I should explain, but my mind is reeling a bit right now. Ever have those experiences when you stumble across a literature that advances a model that runs parallel to your own thinking & that is FAR OUT AHEAD OF YOU in the race? If you’re like me, it probably happens a lot, which means we probably need to read more & talk less. Like that’s going to happen.

Anyway, I will write more later about the exciting new gene-trait/environment study I’m embarking upon with friends & colleagues Francois Dengah & Jeff Snodgrass, but in the meantime I wanted to share this so I don’t forget it. I was reacquainting myself with the neurobiological models of dissociation that have been proposed by Stanley Greenfield, Tanya Luhrmann, & Rebecca Seligman as my part in our literature review. Greenfield wrote a fantastic ethnography of Brazilian espiritismo called Spirits with Scalpels & has always been a supportive voice at meetings when us young bucks talk about our models of consciousness & such & a refreshing reminder that most considerations of so-called “altered states of consciousness” are ethnocentric. So, I’m rereading his chapters on his model of a cultural biology of healing & he draws heavily on Ernest Rossi, including a similar version of the model above.

Short story long, I look up Rossi’s magnum opus The Psychobiology of Gene Expression: Neuroscience and Neurogenesis in Hypnosis and the Healing Arts in my university library system & stumble across an article entitled “Mapping the 4-stage creative process onto spontaneous eye-roll dynamics in hypnosis, mediation, and yoga” Rossi, Schirmer, & Rossi 2010, European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 10(1):60-75). This article integrates a psychobiology of gene expression with the eye-roll associated with so-called ASC.

This made me poo myself a little because we have been using the eye-roll test for hypnotizability for years in my fireside relaxation study & only just gave up on it because I wasn’t sure it was actually measuring anything. I had not been able to find anything but criticism of it in the literature of the last 20+ years, even though it’s the best tool I’ve been able to find for field-based rapid assessment of hypnotizability.

Here’s an eye-roll from our fireside relaxation study data to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:

eye-roll test for hypnotizability

eye-roll test for hypnotizability

I must get back to reading, but I’m getting a much better understanding of the distinctions among concepts like hypnosis, absorption, & trance. It sucks to be humbled, but it’s great to be validated when you’re studying crazy, fringey shit that used to get people blackballed from the Ivory Tower. Tcha to that crap anyway…

Christopher Lynn

About Christopher Lynn

Christopher Dana Lynn is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama, where he directs the Evolutionary Studies program.  Chris teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in biological anthropology, human sexuality, evolution, biocultural medical anthropology, and neuroanthropology.  He received his Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology in 2009 from the University at Albany, SUNY, where his doctoral focus was on the influence of speaking in tongues on stress response among Pentecostals.  Chris runs a human behavioral ecology research group where the objectives include studying fun gimmicky things like trance, religious behavior, tattooing, and sex as a way of introducing students to the rigors of evolutionary science.  In all his “free” time, he breaks up fights among his triplet sons, enjoys marriage to the other Loretta Lynn, strokes his mustache, and has learned to be passionate about Alabama football (Roll Tide!).  Follow Chris on Twitter: @Chris_Ly
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