Barber and Calverley

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Theodore Xenophon Barber (1927–2005)[1] and David Smith Calverley (1937–2008)[2] were American psychologists who studied "hypnotic behaviour". They measured how susceptible patients were to hypnotic induction. One result of their research was showing that the hypnotic induction was not superior to motivational instructions in producing a heightened state of suggestibility.[1] The Barber Suggestibility Scale, a product of their research, measures hypnotic susceptibility with or without the use of a hypnotic induction.[1]

Barber was the author of Hypnosis: A Scientific Approach (1969).[3] He argued in this work that hypnosis and related constructs are "unnecessary and misleading and that the phenomena that have been traditionally subsumed under these terms can be better understood by utilizing a different set of concepts that are an integral part of present-day psychology."[4] It was positively reviewed by the scientific community.[5][6] Psychologist Theodore R. Sarbin noted that the work "demystifies and demythologizes" the subject, "the construction of hypnosis as a special mental state ha[s] no ontological footing."[7]

Barber was a fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI).[8] At a meeting of the executive council of CSI in Denver, Colorado in April 2011, Barber was selected for inclusion in CSI's Pantheon of Skeptics. The Pantheon of Skeptics was created by CSI to remember the legacy of deceased fellows of CSI and their contributions to the cause of scientific skepticism.[9]


Theodore Xenophon Barber

  • Hypnosis: A Scientific Approach (1969)
  • LSD, Marihuana, Yoga and Hypnosis (1970)
  • Biofeedback and Self-Control (1971)
  • Hypnosis, Imagination, and Human Potentialities (1974) [with Nicholas Spanos and John F. Graves]
  • Advances in Altered States of Consciousness & Human Potentialities (1976)
  • The Human Nature of Birds: A Scientific Discovery with Startling Implications (1994)


  1. ^ a b c Pearce, Jeremy (September 23, 2005). "Theodore Barber Dies at 78; Was Major Critic of Hypnosis". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  2. ^ "David S. Calverley, 71". Cape Cod Times. March 22, 2008. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  3. ^ "Theodore Barber, 78, Hypnosis Opponent". SunSentinel.
  4. ^ Hilgard, Ernest R. (1970). Barber, Theodore X. Hypnosis: A Scientific Approach. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 12: 272-274.
  5. ^ Edwards, Griffith. (1970). Hypnosis: A Scientific Approach. British Journal of Psychiatry 117: 591.
  6. ^ Bernstein, Norman R. (1971). Hypnosis: A Scientific Approach. Anesthesia Progress 18: 18-19.
  7. ^ Sarbin, Theodore R. (1997). Barber, Theodore X. (1995/1969). Hypnosis: A Scientific Approach. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 39: 225-227.
  8. ^ "In-Memoriam Segment from CSICON 2016". Skeptical Inquirer.
  9. ^ "The Pantheon of Skeptics". CSI. Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Archived from the original on 31 January 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.