You are getting sleepy. Very sleepy. You will remember everything you read in this article.

Hypnosis has become a common medical tool, used to reduce pain, help people stop smoking and cure them of phobias.

But scientists have long argued about whether the hypnotic “trance” is a separate neurophysiological state or simply a product of a hypnotized person’s expectations.

A study published on Thursday by Stanford researchers offers some evidence for the first explanation, finding that some parts of the brain function differently under hypnosis than during normal consciousness.

The study was conducted with functional magnetic resonance imaging, a scanning method that measures blood flow in the brain. It found changes in activity in brain areas that are thought to be involved in focused attention, the monitoring and control of the body’s functioning, and the awareness and evaluation of a person’s internal and external environments.

“I think we have pretty definitive evidence here that the brain is working differently when a person is in hypnosis,” said Dr. David Spiegel, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford who has studied the effectiveness of hypnosis.

Functional imaging is a blunt instrument and the findings can be difficult to interpret, especially when a study is looking at activity levels in many brain areas.

Still, Dr. Spiegel said, the findings might help explain the intense absorption, lack of self-consciousness and suggestibility that characterize the hypnotic state.

You can read the other half of this article on The New York Times here: http://nyti.ms/2kTeZgW