The British use of The Barber Suggestibility Scale: Norms, psychometric properties and the effects of the sex of the subject and of the experimenter



The Barber Suggestibility Scale, as a measure of hypnotic susceptibility, was administered to 130 British undergraduate students by 13 student experimenters in a 2times2 factorial design with the sex of the subject and the sex of the experimenter as the two variables. The results showed no significant differences among the scores obtained by the 13 experimenters and no significant effect of either the subject's sex or the experimenter's sex though there was some tendency towards an interaction effect. The distribution of scores from the present sample was similar to the American norms reported by Barber (1965) except for slightly lower means on certain test-suggestions. The scale also showed satisfactory internal consistency and item-scale correlations. A principal components analysis revealed evidence for a general factor underlying the scale in addition to three special factors associated with direct motor, motor challenge and cognitive suggestions which confirms the work of Hilgard (1965) on the Stanford scales. The distinction between objective and subjective responses to suggestions is discussed and some improvements are recommended in the scale. It was concluded that the BSS appears to be a simple and reliable measure of hypnotic susceptibility and is suitable for British usage.