> The United States military when trying to avoid divulging information gives reporters briefings with 25 minutes of intentionally dull PowerPoint presentations and 5 minutes left at the end for questions from anyone who is still awake. The presentations are called hypnotizing chickens.
> Notable people who have discussed chicken hypnotism:
> - Werner Herzog. "known to hypnotize chickens; he also hypnotized the cast of his 1976 film Heart of Glass"
I wanna watch this movie now.
From the movies own wikipedia article:
> During shooting, almost all of the actors performed while under hypnosis. [...] The hypnotized actors give very strange performances, which Herzog intended to suggest the trance-like state of the townspeople in the story. Herzog provided the actors with most of their dialogue, memorised during hypnosis. However, many of the hypnotised actors' gestures and movements occurred spontaneously during filming.
When I worked at a startup, I had a boss who was a really nice guy, friend with the CEO, but very much in over his head. He had been a DBA who -- literally & by his own words -- had read a 24 hour book on Java and that was the extend of his knowledge. This was early 2000s so crazy, but not that crazy.
When I needed his blessing my approach was to start with the details, wait until I visibly see him start to tune out, start looking around the room out of boredom, then ask for permission on what I needed.
I never got a no. He was so happy for the meeting to be over he never disagreed. (And these were usually 10 minute tops.)
Anyway, one day I looked out the window and they had all frozen solid, like someone hit them with a "time stop" spell. So the capability is obviously a defensive adaptation. Why it can be triggered by the given techniques is a bit mysterious though.
In humans though you can interrupt motor patterns and get hypnotic trance. The search term is "handshake interrupt", there are videos. I went to a hypnotherapist who used it with me, and I started cracking up because I recognized what was happening and almost wrecked it, but then I made a conscious decision to "go with it". (It's weird how many "levels" there are in the psyche: who was going into trance? who was cracking up? who decided to go with it? who was it that went into trance? "A trance is only as deep as you are." is a powerful spell to break out of trance. Why does it work?)
Be advised that there are roving gangs of hypnotists warring in the streets for your attention.
 It works too. A friend of mine and I were climbing the scree below a cliff when we came across a mother brown eagle and her nest. She spread her wings to cover the nest and froze. She was so still that even though I was staring right at her from about thirty feet away, with my binocular color-vision eyes and human brain, I still could barely see her.
We left her in peace.
Drawing the line probably forces the chicken's eyes to follow the object out of its stereo vision. Birds have amazing stereo vision right in front of their faces (so they don't smash their beaks when pecking at things). Trying to track an object moving directly out of this space might be just unusual enough to cause a system crash.
If you were suddenly blinded, you probably wouldn't respond by running either.
When does a deer naturally get suddenly exposed to blinding light? Ignoring the response of "ah it's bright, look away" avoids false positives accidentally getting the deer killed. Actual positives never occurred during night time until humans developed artificial illumination.
over time I have seen the claim being totally watered down to apparently just intimidating a creature with primal fear for fun and profit.
I agree “intimidating a creature with primal fear for fun and profit” is not that cool.
But the claims you once believed were never true in the first place.
I do believe though in the somewhat debilitating conditions that exacerbate for a person who is already tired, like seeing repetitive long period highway lights, or road markings ... and of course innate primordial fears and reflexes...
However, in many ways hypnosis is synonymous with “learning.” Your father hypnotized you into learning math, physics, and chemistry... as do all effective teachers.
Edit: first sentence referring to python eating patterns, to clarify.
Curiously enough, one of my hens managed to do this to herself on accident. She flew up on a fence and somehow got her spur caught in it (yes, some hens have spurs too). That resulted in her falling and basically hanging upside down by her foot. But instead of struggling she just went limp. I ran over to get her down and after being upright she slowly came back to (she was fine).
One thing I saw in action was the Pecking Order. The alphas were jerks to the younger and smaller ones. They'd even eat when they probably weren't hungry. Starving them. So, I enjoyed chasing them away or holding them while the others got to eat first. I'm sure their massive egos suffered a great deal watching that display. Haha.
It wasn't until I was in my twenties and had read up a little on human cognition and evolutionary psychology that it occurred to me to ask, "Wait, is hypnosis really a thing?"
I found a Scientific American article around that time that gave a pretty good summary of the state of scientific inquiry into human hypnosis. One of the things it pointed out that I thought was interesting: apparently, in controlled studies, there's no strong correlation between a person's predicted susceptibility to hypnosis and their observed or actual susceptibility.
I find the idea that Bugs Bunny could take control of mind by swinging a pocket watch in front of my face a little unnerving so that finding worried me. I always thought my naturally skeptical predisposition would serve to protect me.
Based on my reading, I've come to understand hypnosis neurologically as a composite or intensification of other more mundane phenomena. As the Wikipedia article on hypnosis puts it, "Hypnosis is a human condition involving focused attention, reduced peripheral awareness, and an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion."
I've never been hypnotized. Well, beyond the general everyday forms. (The SA article pointed out that reading a book could be regarded as a form of self-hypnosis.) I have talked to people who swear they've been entranced by stage hypnotists.
I'm still largely puzzled as to why it might have a naturally selected basis. A vestige of our origins as less cognitively and culturally complex social organisms perhaps?
>I’m still largely puzzled as to why it might have a naturally selected basis.
Well, you just said it yourself: reading is a form of auto-hypnosis. All communication has a hypnotic component. In many ways, hypnosis is synonymous with “learning.”
It has a naturally-selected basis for the same reason that being able to read has a naturally selected basis: it’s just advantageous to be able to learn quickly.
I would argue that while some forms of hypnosis could be considered a vestige of a less cognitively-complex time (thinking of “highway hypnosis” which has no clear evolutionary advantage), other forms of hypnosis represent the absolute pinnacle of cognitive development: everyone who learns a programming language must first hypnotize themselves into learning that language.
I used this to train a cat not to walk on my desk. Kept a teatowel and would do this every time for for a bit when ever it walked across my keyboard/papers while I was working.
Not sure if was ethical... Cat didnt seem in any discomfort, just annoyed it was stuck there. Was a while ago so not sure but seemed to train it ~5 times.
I wonder if this has anything to do with the way chickens use their eyes too. They're unable to move their eyes to account for movement so they instead repeatedly move their head once their body has moved more than a threshold amount, resulting in the typical strutting motion of their head.