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Effects of stimulating unconscious fantasies of oneness using the subliminal psychodynamic activation method

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Effects of stimulating unconscious fantasies of oneness using the subliminal psychodynamic activation method

Malik, Rajesh (1996) Effects of stimulating unconscious fantasies of oneness using the subliminal psychodynamic activation method. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The subliminal psychodynamic activation (SPA) method, which was developed to test psychodynamic theories, remains highly controversial due, in part, to the counterintuitive nature of its results. Numerous concerns over experimental methodology also make it difficult to evaluate whether the method succeeds in fulfilling the original purpose. The studies reported herein were undertaken to address this issue. In three experiments with nonclinical subjects, Silverman's (1983) hypothesis that the stimulation of unconscious fantasies of oneness with mother is capable of engendering salutary behavioral effects was examined. In Experiment 1, 50 men and 50 women were tachistoscopically shown, for four ms, one of five stimuli: MOMMY AND I ARE ONE, DADDY AND I ARE ONE, MYMMO NAD I REA ENO, and two other messages to test subsidiary hypotheses. Men were expected to show a significant decrease in anxiety, as assessed by heart rate, to the MOMMY stimulus, and women to either to the MOMMY or DADDY stimulus, or to both. The subliminal stimuli did not produce differential effects on anxiety, thus failing to lend support to the experimental hypotheses. However, a significant correlation was observed for women between responsiveness to the MOMMY phrase and scores on measures of self-perception. Experiment 2 followed a similar design to that of Experiment 1 except that all stimuli were presented at each participant's individually determined subjective threshold. No support for the main hypotheses was found, and the previously observed association between responsivity to the MOMMY message and self-perception was absent. In Experiment 3, stimuli were presented both at subliminal and supraliminal levels, and a new dependent variable of fine motor performance was added which has been employed successfully by researchers before. The MOMMY message failed to influence heart rate and fine motor performance significantly compared to a control message, and neither significantly compared to a control message, and neither self-perception nor degree of attachment with mother was related to message effects. It is suggested that the SPA method may not be efficacious for investigating psychodynamic propositions, at least with nonclinical populations. In the light of current results, future empirical study of psychoanalysis is considered without relying on SPA as an investigative tool.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Malik, Rajesh
Pagination:xii, 252 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Dept. of Psychology
Date:1996
Thesis Supervisor(s):Ladd, Herbert W
ID Code:261
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:10
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:13
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