OBJECTIVE: To present a revision on characteristics of electric brain activity accompanying the animal hypnosis, state induced in laboratory in mammals by means experimental manipulation, as well as on alterations found in EEG during hypnosis, aiming to find phylogenetic basis that could conduct us to the understanding of neural rudiments of the hypnosis state. METHOD: Books and electronics data basis were consulted. Inclusion criteria: original articles published between 1966-2012. Exclusion criteria: articles deviating from electro-neurophysiological hypnosis vision. RESULTS: It was found 662 articles in journals and books, and references show those chosen. In addition, we included the Hoagland' paper published in 1928, which is a classical paper about tonic immobility in vertebrates. CONCLUSIONS: Human hypnosis state results from processing of several parallel circuits distributed in a complex neuronal network, involving a wide area of encephalon. In the evolution, the enlargement of the brain cortex can have made possible the conscious control of tonic immobility responses, which are still presents in human occurring under extreme life threat. Studies have evidenced electro-neurophysiological mechanisms able to support the vision of hypnosis as not only an efficient recourse in medical and dental procedures, auxiliary in analgesia and sedation, but also as excellent tool for psychotherapy. In the evolution of humans, the enlargement of the brain cortex could be possible the conscious control of tonic immobility responses.
Human hypnosis; EEG; tonic immobility; animal hypnosis