Hypnosis scales for the twenty-first century: what do we need and how should we use them?

Erik Z. Woody and Amanda J. Barnier

in The Oxford Handbook of Hypnosis

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780198570097
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Hypnosis scales for the twenty-first century: what do we need and how should we use them?

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  • History and Systems in Psychology


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There are several possible strategies for documenting the stable individual differences in processing the history of hypnosis. However, an approach characteristic of science is to devise a scale that assigns different numbers to the varying manifestations of the phenomenon under study. This article declares that the first such hypnosis scale was developed in the late 1800s by Bernheim (1886/1964) and Liébeault (1889). Since then, there have been several developments in that direction. However, as this article explains, it was the scale construction work of Weitzenhoffer and Hilgard in the late 1950s that completely transformed the scientific study of hypnosis. Modifying the hypnosis scale of Friedlander and Sarbin (1938), they introduced a simplified pass/fail scoring scheme for the response to each test suggestion, and they added additional relatively easy test suggestions, yielding two alternate forms: the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scales, Forms A and B (SHSS: A and SHSS: B; Weitzenhoffer and Hilgard, 1959).

Keywords: hypnosis scale; standardized induction procedure; individual differences; scoring criteria; Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scales

Article.  17384 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; History and Systems in Psychology

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