|The Stanford Hypnotic Susceptibility Scales were devised in the late 1950s by Stanford University psychologists André M. Weitzenhoffer and Ernest R. Hilgard and are still used today to determine the extent to which a subject responds to hypnosis.|
One version of the Stanford scales, for instance, consists of a series of 12 activities--such as holding one's arm outstretched or sniffing the contents of a bottle--that test the depth of the hypnotic state. In the first instance, individuals are told that they are holding a very heavy ball, and they are scored as "passing" that suggestion if their arm sags under the imagined weight. In the second case, subjects are told that they have no sense of smell, and then a vial of ammonia is waved under their nose. If they have no reaction, they are deemed very responsive to hypnosis; if they grimace and recoil, they are not.
Scoring on the Stanford scales ranges from 0, for individuals who do not respond to any of the hypnotic suggestions, to 12, for those who pass all of them. Most people score in the middle range (between 5 and 7); 95 percent of the population receives a score of at least 1.