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

Erik Z. Woody*, Amanda J. Barnier

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    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).

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Hypnosis
    Subtitle of host publicationTheory, Research, and Practice
    EditorsMichael R. Nash, Amanda J. Barnier
    Place of PublicationOxford ; New York
    PublisherOxford University Press
    Number of pages27
    ISBN (Electronic)9780191743733
    ISBN (Print)9780198570097
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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