Tony Gibson (psychologist)

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Tony Gibson
Born(1914-10-14)14 October 1914
Died22 March 2001(2001-03-22) (aged 86)
Known forPolitical activism, Gibson Spiral Maze, Hypnotism

Hamilton Bertie Gibson (14 October 1914 – 22 March 2001), generally known as Tony Gibson, was an English psychologist, anarchist, and model.[1] He became known for his objection to Great Britain's involvement in World War II and his subsequent imprisonment for being an unregistered conscientious objector.[2]

In 1939, while working as a life model for art students, he was selected to model for Brylcreem advertisements. During the Battle of Britain he was depicted wearing an RAF uniform,[3] despite the fact that by then he was in prison as a conscientious objector. After serving three sentences he agreed to work as an ambulance driver and then as an agricultural labourer.[2]

In the 1950s he studied sociology at the London School of Economics and psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, following which he undertook research at the Institute of Criminology in Cambridge.

During the period at Cambridge, he developed the Spiral Maze, a psychomotor test that was able to distinguish between normal boys and those who were maladjusted or delinquent.[4] This test has also been found to be useful in assessing psychomotor impairment due to drugs.[5]

In 1970 he founded the Psychology Department at University of Hertfordshire which he headed until 1976. He was the first president of the British Society of Experimental and Clinical Hypnosis.[6]

In 1981 he published a biography of Hans Eysenck, with whom he had worked at the Institute of Psychiatry in London [7]


  1. ^ Pierce, Andrew (20 October 2005). "A slick coiffure puts one candidate head and shoulders above his rivals". The Times. London. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  2. ^ a b "Brylcreem Boy, psychologist, anarchist, and conscientious objector". The Irish Times. 5 May 2001. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  3. ^ "Brylcreem in the handy active service tube". Retrieved 2011-01-10.
  4. ^ Gibson HB (1964). "The spiral maze: A psychomotor test with implications for the study of delinquency". British Journal of Psychology. 55 (2): 219–225. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1964.tb02721.x. PMID 14168486.
  5. ^ Frewer LJ, Lader M (1993). "The effects of nefazodone, imipramine and placebo, alone and combined with alcohol, in normal subjects". International Clinical Psychopharmacology. 8 (1): 13–20. doi:10.1097/00004850-199300810-00002. PMID 8473716.
  6. ^ Rooum, Donald; Segar, Rufus (30 April 2001). "Tony Gibson: Conscientious objector who became the smooth image of the RAF". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2008-02-16.
  7. ^ Gibson, HB (1981). Hans Eysenck: The man and his work. Peter Owen Limited. ISBN 0-7206-0566-0.

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