February 9, 2009

Ideomotor effect

Derren Brown explains the principle of ideomotor movement in his book Tricks of the mind: "The principle works like this. If you focus on the idea of making a movement, you will likely end up making a similar tiny movement without realizing it. If, undistracted, you concentrate on the idea of your hand becoming light, you'll eventually find that you make tiny unconscious movements to lift it. While you may be consciously aware that these movements are happening, you are not aware that you are causing them." This principle explains phenomena observed in table tipping sessions and in which people are made to believe that spirits of deceased people communicated with the participants of the session by making the table move. Other appliations may be: the Ouija board, the diving rod, automatic writing, etc. This effect seems analogous to some of the techniques used in solution-focused therapy and coaching: certain questions and suggestions increase the likelyhood that people start causing themselves -consciously or unconsciously- what they want to achieve.

Take for instance the observation suggestion, which may be formulated like this: "Could you, between now and our next conversation, pay attention to situations in which things are a bit better? When you notice that things are better, could pay close attention to what is different in that situation and to what you do different yourself? If you try to remember what is different when things are better we can talk about it next time we meet". The observation suggestion not only brings people in a state of mind in which they recognize improvements, I believe it also causes them create these situations themselves. Another example is the prediction task, which goes something like this: "Each night, before going to bed, predict whether or not you will succeed in ............. (whatever it is the client wants to accomplish) the next day." With this task something comparable happens. When the client starts to predict success he will probably, consciously or unconsciously, start to do small things that will increase the likelyhood of the success.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner