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Degree of Measured Hypnotizability-NEPRINTAT

Degree of Measured Hypnotizability-NEPRINTAT - J ournal of...

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Journal of Personality and Social Psychology Co0yright 1989 by the American Psychological Association, Inc. 1989, Vol. 56, No. 2, 289-295 0022-3514/89/$00.75 On the Degree of Stability of Measured Hypnotizability Over a 25-Year Period Carlo Piccione, Ernest R. Hilgard, and Philip G. Zimbardo Stanford University Conducted a longitudinal study of hypnotizability, as measured by the Stanford Hypnotic Suscepti- bility Scale, Form A, that yielded a relatively high degree of stability in hypnotic responsiveness over repeated testings spanning a 25-year period. The 50 Ss were retested in 1985, after tests when they were students, between 1958-1962 and again in 1970. The statistically significant stability coeffi- cients were .64 (10-year retest), .82 (15-year retest), and .71 (25-year retest). The means did not change significantly, and the median change in the scores of individuals was only 1 point on the 12- item scale. A set of score measures and their intercorrelations are insufficient to resolve the issue of why stability occurs. The stability of hypnotizability over time compares favorably with that of other measures of individual differences. In this article, we examine the degree of stability of scores on the Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scale, Form A (SHSS:A; Weitzenhoffer & Hilgard, 1959) over a 25-year period. The study began in the fall of 1957 when the Stanford Laboratory of Hypnosis Research began the first phase of collaborative re- search examining individual differences in measured hypnotic susceptibility (E. R. Hilgard, 1965). The data on the relative stability of scores on a standardized hypnotic responsiveness scale, in this case over a period spanning a quarter of a century, bear importantly on varied investigations designed to under- stand hypnotic processes. Domain of Hypnosis and Scale Construction Tests attempting to measure hypnotizability appraise what has been variously called suggestibility, susceptibility, or hyp- notic responsiveness. All of these descriptors can be considered synonyms of a person's measured talent or ability to produce behaviors and experiences falling within the complex domain of hypnosis (E. R. Hilgard, 1973). The construction of a scale for the measurement of hypnotic responsiveness begins by selecting types of behavior and experi- ences characteristic of hypnosis. The items representing these types of experiences are then tried out on a large number of people inexperienced with hypnosis. Following an attempted induction of hypnosis by some standard method, the person is tested by being given the opportunity to respond to the various suggestions as a hypnotized person would. The test is but a sam- ple of the broad range of possible hypnotic behaviors and expe- Portions of the results were presented in 1987 at the meeting of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis in Los Angeles.
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