Ever since man could think he could move from one state of mind to another. From Quiet contemplation, to chasing a Sabre tooth tiger in a loin cloth. Him, not the tiger. And since this flowing from one state to another is natural, people take it as their reality. From my learning’s and understanding of hypnosis and NLP these “states” or moods or levels of “energy or excitement/lethargy can be guided.
Examples of this is a kind word at the right moment, to someone feeling low or sad, can have a profound change in their demeanour. Also Music and smells as you know create major shifts in our moods.
So the bottom line is we are all human and cultural training and knowledge aside, we tend to respond in generally similar ways to similar experiences. For example leaning out over an extreme height!!
The cultural values which are either taught to us directly or indirectly through social gatherings and religious ceremonies peer group influences all form responses which can be interpreted by the individual as “reality” and yet they can be just a belief they have based on their cultures values. For example, it was normal for the American Indians to send the young boy out into the wilderness for a “Vision Quest” an adolescent initiation rite, to fast and wait for a vision which will dictate his role in the tribe.
Imagine telling your 12 year old that they are going out into the forest and sit without food until they get a vision of what employment they will take on. So cultural values can be powerful things.
Remember that a shaman or witch doctor who wields that power, apparently can cause death of a tribe member just by telling them they will die, and soon after they literally lose the will to live, and die.
So cultural events like Stage hypnosis do obviously utilise this social energy and beliefs to alter a persons “state” on stage. However there is a lot more to this than just peer group pressure.
As I mentioned earlier. People will respond to or receive what they are constantly thinking about all of the time. Especially fear.
Constant fear of an event or situation causes the person to draw that to them which they feared most.