RESEARCH PAPER
Factor structure of suggestibility revisited: new evidence for direct and indirect suggestibility
 
 
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Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
Submission date: 2015-12-10
Final revision date: 2016-05-05
Acceptance date: 2016-05-10
Online publication date: 2016-05-30
Publication date: 2016-06-30
 
Current Issues in Personality Psychology 2016;4(2):87–96
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background
Yielding to suggestions can be viewed as a relatively stable individual trait, called suggestibility. It has been long proposed that there are two kinds of suggestible influence, and two kinds of suggestibility corresponding to them: direct and indirect. Direct suggestion involves overt unhidden influence, while indirect suggestion concerns influence that is hidden, and the participant does not know that the suggestibility is being measured. So far however, empirical evidence for the existence of the two factors has been scarce. In the present study, more sophisticated and reliable tools for measuring suggestibility were applied than in the previous research, in the hope that better measurement would reveal the factor structure of suggestibility. Two tests of direct suggestibility were used: the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form A, measuring hypnotic susceptibility, and the Barber Suggestibility Scale, measuring non-hypnotic direct imaginative suggestibility. Three tests served to measure indirect suggestibility: the Sensory Suggestibility Scale, measuring indirect suggestibility relating to perception; the Gudjonsson Suggestibility Scale, measuring the tendency to yield to suggestive questions and changing answers after negative feedback; and the Emotional Dialogs Tests, measuring the tendency to perceive nonexistent aggression.

Participants and procedure
In sum, 115 participants were tested, 69 women, 49 men, mean age 22.20 years, SD = 2.20. Participants were tested in two sessions, lasting for a total of four hours.

Results
Confirmatory factor analyses confirmed the existence of two uncorrelated factors of suggestibility: direct and indirect.

Conclusions
Suggestibility may indeed involve two factors, direct and indirect, and failure to discover them in previous research may be due to methodological problems.
 
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