Contemporary studies in unconscious cognition are essentially founded on dissociation, i.e., on how it dissociates with respect to conscious mental processes and representations. This is claimed to be in so many and diverse ways that one is often lost in dissociation. In order to reduce this state of confusion we here carry out two major tasks: based on the central distinction between cognitive processes and representations, we identify and isolate the main dissociation paradigms; we then critically analyze their key tenets (...) and reported findings. (shrink)
Dissociation during trauma lacks an adequate definition. Using data obtained from interviews with 36 posttraumatic individuals conducted according to the phenomenological approach, this paper seeks to improve our understanding of this phenomenon. In particular, it suggesting a trade off model depicting the balance between the sense of agency and the sense of ownership : a reciprocal relationship appears to exist between these two, and in order to enable control of the body during trauma the sense of ownership must decrease. When (...) the relationship between the sense of agency and sense of ownership changes disproportionately to the constraints of the traumatic event, the dissociative mechanism becomes dysfunctional. By contrast, when the relations alter in accordance with the surrounding conditions, the dissociative mechanism functions properly. (shrink)
Erdelyi does us all a great service by his customarily incisive discussion of the various ways in which our field tends to neglect, confuse, and misunderstand numerous critical issues in attempting to differentiate conscious from unconscious perception and memory. Although no single commentary could hope to comprehensively assess these issues, I will address Erdelyi’s three main points: How the dissociation paradigm can be used to validly infer unconscious perception; The implications of below-chance effects; and The role of time. I suggest (...) that significant progress on construct validity issues is possible; below-chance effects are part of a more general bidirectional phenomenon, very likely unconscious, and do not threaten absolute subliminality; and practice/learning effects pose potential difficulties for time-based dissociation paradigms. (shrink)
This paper explores the possibilities for strategic maneuvering of the argumentative technique that Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca (The New Rhetoric. A Treatise on Argumentation, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame/London, 1969) called dissociation. After an exploration of the general possibilities that dissociation may have for enhancing critical reasonableness and rhetorical effectiveness, the use of dissociation in the successive stages of a critical discussion is examined. For each stage, first, the dialectical moves that dissociation can be employed in are specified, then, (...) the specific ways in which dissociation contributes to fulfilling the dialectical tasks that are associated with these moves are delineated, and, finally, the rhetorical gain that␣dissociation can bring in the fulfillment of these tasks is discussed. Some general conclusions are drawn for research that aims at understanding the potential of an argumentative technique for strategic maneuvering. (shrink)
This essay discusses how the organisation of mental material within the cognitive system can influence consciousness and awareness, and presents a theory of dissociation based on the premise that awareness is relative, contingent on the activated representation of the ongoing event being linked to the activated self-representation. It allows four possible variations of integration: non-integrated experience—perceptions about an object/event are either not perceived or they remain at the sensory level: traditional dissociative states, amnesia, depersonalisation etc; variably integrated experience—activation of information (...) of a specific valence about an object blocks activation of information of contrasting valence: splitting; alternatively integrated experience—experience is integrated into a specific, limited active self-representation: fugue and multiple identity states; dis-integrated experience–the ongoing experience of innate drives and needs is no longer consistently activated in the core self-representation: repression and isolation. (shrink)
This paper aims at combining different theoretical and methodological approaches for the analysis of discourse, focusing in particular on argumentative structures. At a first level an attempt is made to include argumentation in critical discourse analysis in order to extend the analysis of interaction between “structures of discourse” and “structures of ideologies” (T. A. van Dijk, R. Wodak and M. Meyer (eds.), Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. Sage, London, 1995) to higher levels of language description. At a second level the (...) study will integrate the qualitative approaches of critical discourse analysis and argumentation theory with the quantitative tools of corpus linguistics, so that the analysis can be carried out on a representative amount of texts and in a more systematic way. Even though corpus linguistics tends to be focused on meanings localized at the level of words, while argumentative structures stretch out through longer units of text, an integration can be attempted by circumscribing the enquiry to those aspects of argumentation which are signalled by indicators, and are therefore electronically retrievable. In particular, this paper investigates the use of dissociation and presupposition in a corpus of newspaper articles published in the run up to the war on Iraq. Both structures respond to retrievability criteria while being powerful instruments to convey ideologically oriented messages. (shrink)
Consciousness has many elements, from sensory experiences such as vision and bodily sensation, to nonsensory aspects such as memory and thought. All are presented as experiences of a single subject, and all seem to be contained within a unified field of experience. This unity raises many questions: How do diverse systems in the brain co-operate to produce a unified experience? Are there conditions under which this unity breaks down? Is conscious experience really unified at all? Such questions are addressed in (...) this thought-provoking book. (shrink)
This study replicated the co-existence of dissociation and pet attachment in 113 female veterinary technician students based on a bivariate correlation analysis and chi-square analysis of their responses to the 28-question Dissociative Experiences Scale and an eight-question "pet" attachment questionnaire.The study replicated the positive correlation between pet attachment and dissociation first reported by Brown & Katcher . Also replicated was the finding that significantly more with the highest pet attachment had clinical levels of dissociation than did those with lower attachment. (...) Results compared to a meta-analytic study found their level of dissociation to be higher than participants in non-animalrelated categories.This study suggests that dissociation may characterize one subset of people highly attached to pets and discusses implications for companion animal research and individuals in animal-related careers. (shrink)
We examined two potential correlates of hypnotic suggestibility: dissociation and cognitive inhibition. Dissociation is the foundation of two of the major theories of hypnosis and other theories commonly postulate that hypnotic responding is a result of attentional abilities . Participants were administered the Waterloo-Stanford Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, Form C. Under the guise of an unrelated study, 180 of these participants also completed: a version of the Dissociative Experiences Scale that is normally distributed in non-clinical populations; a latent inhibition (...) task, a spatial negative priming task, and a memory task designed to measure negative priming. The data ruled out even moderate correlations between hypnotic suggestibility and all the measures of dissociation and cognitive inhibition overall, though they also indicated gender differences. The results are a challenge for existing theories of hypnosis. (shrink)
Watson reported moderate correlations between the Iowa Sleep Experience Survey and self-report measures of dissociation and schizotypy. Subsequent investigations reported similar, although somewhat more modest, correlations between the ISES and measures of dissociation and schizotypy, as well as with measures of absorption and negative affect. The present study tested subjects in conditions in which the measures of sleep experiences were administered with other measures in either the same or a different test context. We determined that sleep experiences were associated with (...) measures of dissociation, absorption, and schizotypy. We closely replicated Watson and found that the ISES correlations with other measures were not affected by the test context. We suggest that Watson’s hypothesized common domain of unusual cognitive and perceptual experiences may be underpinned by common ties to imaginative experiences. (shrink)
The paper makes three points about the role of double dissociation in cognitive neuropsychology. First, arguments from double dissociation to separate modules work by inference to the best, not the only possible, explanation. Second, in the development of computational cognitive neuropsychology, the contribution of connectionist cognitive science has been to broaden the range of potential explanations of double dissociation. As a result, the competition between explanations, and the characteristic features of the assessment of theories against the criteria of probability and (...) explanatory value, are more visible. Third, cognitive neuropsychology is a division of cognitive psychology but the practice of cognitive neuropsychology proceeds on assumptions that go beyond the subject matter of cognitive psychology. Given such assumptions, neuroscientific findings about lesion location may enhance the value of double dissociation in shifting the balance of support between cognitive theories. (shrink)
Current thinking suggests that dissociation could be a significant comorbid diagnosis in a proportion of schizophrenic patients with a history of trauma. This potentially may explain the term “schizophrenia” in its original definition by Bleuler, as influenced by his clinical experience and personal view. Additionally, recent findings suggest a partial overlap between dissociative symptoms and the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, which could be explained by inhibitory deficits. In this context, the process of dissociation could serve as an important conceptual framework (...) for understanding schizophrenia, which is supported by current neuroimaging studies and research of corollary discharges. These data indicate that the original conception of “split mind” may be relevant in an updated context. Finally, recent data suggest that the phenomenal aspects of dissociation and conscious disintegration could be related to underlying disruptions of connectivity patterns and neural integration. (shrink)
Consciousness alterations can be experienced during unstructured, monotonous stimuli. These effects have not been linked to particular cognitive operations; individual differences in response to such stimulation remain poorly understood. We examined the role of hypnotizability and dissociative tendencies in mind-wandering during a sensory homogenization procedure . We expected that the influence of ganzfeld on MW would be more pronounced among highly hypnotizable individuals , particularly those high in dissociative tendencies. High and low hypnotizables, also stratified by dissociation, completed the sustained (...) attention to response task during ganzfeld and control conditions. High dissociative highs made more commission errors during ganzfeld, suggesting increased MW, whereas the other groups displayed the opposite pattern. Increases in commission errors from the control condition to ganzfeld were associated with more alterations in consciousness and negative affect, but only among highs. Sensory homogenization had opposite effects on MW depending on the interaction of hypnotizability and dissociation. (shrink)
In this powerful and wonderfully accessible meditation on psychoanalysis, hermeneutics, and social constructivism, Donnel Stern explores the relationship between two fundamental kinds of experience: explicit verbal reflection and "unformulated experience," or experience we have not yet reflected on and put into words. Stern is especially concerned with the process by which we come to formulate the unformulated. It is not an instrumental task, he holds, but one that requires openness and curiosity; the result of the process is not accuracy alone, (...) but experience that is deeply felt and fully imagined. Stern's sense of explicit verbal experience as continuously constructed and emergent leads to a central dialectic at the heart of his work: that between curiosity and imagination, on one hand, and dissociation and unthinking acceptance of the familiar on the other. The goal of psychoanalytic work, he holds, is the freedom to be curious, whereas defense signifies the denial of this freedom. We defend against our fear of what we would think, that is, if we allowed ourselves the freedom to think it. Stern also shows how the unconscious itself can be reconceptualized hermeneutically, and he goes on to explore the implications of this viewpoint on interpretation and countertransference. He is especially persuasive in showing how the interpersonal field, which is continuously in flux, limits the experience that it is possible for participants to reflect on. Thus it is that analyst and patient are together "caught in the grip of the field," often unable to see the kind of relatedness in which they are mutually involved. A brilliant demonstration of the clinical consequentiality of hermeneutic thinking, _Unformulated Experience_ bears out Stern's belief that psychoanalysis is as much about the revelation of the new in experience as it is about the discovery of the old. (shrink)
The condition known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is metaphysically strange. Can there really be several distinct persons operating in a single body? Our view is that DID sufferers are single persons with a severe mental disorder. In this paper we compare the phenomenology of dissociation between personality states in DID with certain delusional disorders. We argue both that the burden of proof must lie with those who defend the metaphysically extravagant Multiple Persons view and (...) that there is little theoretical motivation to yield to that view in light of the fact that the core symptoms of DID bear remarkable similarity to the symptoms of these other disorders where no such extravagance is ever seriously entertained. (shrink)
B.F. Skinner was the voice of radical behaviourism for some five decades, fighting relentlessly against consciousness as a scientific question. While in public he always argued the case for behaviourism, in fact Skinner was deeply at odds with himself, as he reveals in several books. Surprisingly, as a college student he was deeply interested in becoming a stream-of-consciousness novelist. When that ambition failed, he reacted with a radical rejection of the conscious life. Decades later Skinner's inner struggle still continued, as (...) his autobiography shows. Like a mystery novelist, B.F. Skinner again and again provides the clues to his own secret. Skinner's conflict about consciousness was not just a personal idiosyncracy. Behaviourism and its radical rejection of personal experience was a major theme of the twentieth century, and continues even today. Rejection of consciousness became a core belief for academic psychologists and philosophers in the English-speaking world, justifying their claim to standing among the physical sciences. Skinner's life suggests that radical behaviourism may be associated with psychological conflict and some degree of dissociation. It also raises questions about the cultural climate that celebrated the rejection of consciousness. (shrink)
The well-known behaviorist revolt against consciousness is largely in the past, although that does not mean that the new interest in consciousness is without many unsolved problems. Cognitive psychology, as an alternative, is not necessarily a consciousness psychology, and humanistic psychology, friendly to consciousness, has difficulty in maintaining scientific status. One approach to consciousness is by way of dissociation, the phenomena of which can be found in everyday experience but can be studied in more detail through hypnosis. One aspect of (...) hypnosis research has led to the concept of a “hidden observer,” a metaphor used to indicate that some information is processed and has consequences without being in the focus of consciousness at the time, but is recoverable through hypnosis. The evidence comes mostly from subjects highly responsive to hypnosis, so that generalizations must be used with caution. The divisions of consciousness lead to consideration of its executive and monitoring functions-normal functions, but subject to some alterations through hypnosis. (shrink)
While there is now general agreement that memory gives rise to both conscious and unconscious influences, there remains disagreement concerning the process architecture underlying these distinct influences. Do they arise from independent underlying systems or from systems that are interactive ? In the current paper we present a novel “inside-out” technique that can be used with the process-dissociation paradigm to arrive at more concrete conclusions concerning this central question and demonstrate this technique via a meta-analysis of currently published findings. Our (...) results suggest that the data presented in these studies vary in ways most consistent with the assumption that conscious and unconscious influences behave independently. (shrink)
According to recent evidence, neurophysiological processes coupled to pain are closely related to the mechanisms of consciousness. This evidence is in accordance with findings that changes in states of consciousness during hypnosis or traumatic dissociation strongly affect conscious perception and experience of pain, and markedly influence brain functions. Past research indicates that painful experience may induce dissociated state and information about the experience may be stored or processed unconsciously. Reported findings suggest common neurophysiological mechanisms of pain and dissociation and point (...) to a hypothesis of dissociation as a defense mechanism against psychological and physical pain that substantially influences functions of consciousness. The hypothesis is also supported by findings that information can be represented in the mind/brain without the subject’s awareness. The findings of unconsciously present information suggest possible binding between conscious contents and self-functions that constitute self-representational dimensions of consciousness. The self-representation means that certain inner states of own body are interpreted as mental and somatic identity, while other bodily signals, currently not accessible to the dominant interpreter’s access are dissociated and may be defined as subliminal self-representations. In conclusion, the neurophysiological aspects of consciousness and its integrative role in the therapy of painful traumatic memories are discussed. (shrink)
Consciousness researchers are interested in distinguishing between mental activity that occurs with and without awareness . The inattentional blindness paradigm is an excellent tool for this question because it permits the independent manipulation of processing time and awareness. In the present study, we show that implicit texture segregation can occur during inattentional blindness, provided that the texture is exposed for a sufficient duration. In contrast, a Simon effect does not occur during inattentional blindness, even with similar exposure duration of the (...) critical stimulus. This reveals a dissociation between processing time and awareness, consistent with the possibility of separate processing streams for explicit and implicit visual perception. (shrink)
Dissociation is an important aspect of responses to traumatic events. According to a number of influential theories, it negatively impacts cognitive performance including encoding of the trauma memories, leading to an increased risk of later conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder . We tested this hypothesis experimentally in two studies by inducing dissociation in the laboratory and investigating the effects on several aspects of cognition, including time estimation, digit and spatial span, and story recall. Dissociation was related to decrements in (...) time estimation, digit span, and story retention, but did not affect perceptual attention, spatial span, or immediate story recall. The results are discussed in the context of theoretical models of PTSD and their implications for official questioning of traumatized individuals such as sexual assault survivors. (shrink)
This paper introduced the letter insertion and letter deletion tasks. In these tasks participants are presented with letter strings and are instructed to insert or delete a letter to create a word. Experiment 1 demonstrated facilitation priming and established these tasks as sensitive indirect measures of memory. Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrated interference priming effects. In Experiment 4 the process dissociation paradigm was applied to investigate the contributions of automatic and consciously controlled processes to performance on the letter insertion task. (...) In addition, performance in the exclusion condition demonstrated an interference effect caused by automatic retrieval. Potential applications for the letter insertion and letter deletion tasks are discussed. (shrink)
We review different analytic approaches to narratives by those with psychopathological conditions, and we suggest that the interpretation of such narratives are complicated by a variety of phenomenological and hermeneutical considerations. We summarize an empirical study of narrative distance in narratives by non-pathological subjects, and discuss how the results can be interpreted in two different ways with regard to the issue of dissociation.
Obsessive compulsive disorder is a debilitating psychiatric condition where people become obsessed by remotely possible harm, error, bad luck, and compulsively repeat mental or behavioural rituals to neutralize these possibilities. This tendency to draw inferences on the basis of remote rather than more likely possibilities is termed 'inferential confusion' and can lead to immersion in possible worlds accompanied by feelings of dissociation between: knowing and doing, imagination and reality, and authentic and inauthentic self. These dissociation experiences in OCD may inform (...) us on the relational 'possibilistic' nature of consciousness. In a relational model of consciousness, the boundaries of consciousness are located between the person and the world, and shift according to the 'aboutness' of self-world interaction. A key element of 'aboutness' is projecting into the future to what is 'about to be', so sense of reality is constructed through a consensus about what could be, operationalized as a personal possibility distribution. Experiences such as derealization and depersonalization occur in OCD when there is a clash between personally possible worlds and the person ends up living in simultaneously a possible and an impossible world. Recognizing this confusion may be a key to alleviating dissociative symptoms. (shrink)
In this article, we analyze both M. J. Wainwright and E. M. Reingold's view of the process dissociation measurement models presented by A. Buchner, E. Erdfelder, and B. Vaterrodt-Plunnecke and their suggestions on that topic. This analysis reveals a number of problems in Wainwright and Reingold's approach. Some of these problems are more subtle than others, but they are nevertheless consequential. Thus, researchers working with the process dissociation procedure should be aware of these problems.
In this paper I focus on what we can call “the obvious assumption” in the debate between defenders and deniers (of the reductionist sort) of cognitive phenomenology: conscious thought is phenomenal and phenomenal thought is conscious. This assumption can be refused if “conscious” and "phenomenal” are not co-extensive in the case of thought. I discuss some prominent ways to argue for their dissociation and I argue that we have reasons to resist such moves, and thus, that the “obvious assumption” can (...) be transformed into a grounded claim one can explicitly believe and defend. (shrink)
The present study examined whether a dissociation among formats for rational numbers can be obtained in tasks that require comparing a number to a non-symbolic quantity. In Experiment 1, college students saw a discrete or else continuous image followed by a rational number, and had to decide which was numerically larger. In Experiment 2, participants saw the same displays but had to make a judgment about the type of ratio represented by the number. The magnitude task was performed more quickly (...) using decimals, whereas the relation task was performed more accurately with fractions. The pattern observed for percentages was very similar to that for decimals. A dissociation between magnitude comparison and relational processing with rational numbers can be obtained when a symbolic number must be compared to a non-symbolic display. (shrink)
Schelling has been exploited for a variety of psychoanalytical projects, from Marquard’s revision of Freud, to various readings of Jung, to Žižek’s interpretation of Lacan. What we have not seen is an elaboration of the psycho-therapeutical implications of Schelling’s metaphysics on its own terms. What we find when we read Schelling as metapsychologist is a nonpathologizing theory of dissociation. Like anything that lives, the psyche dissociates for the sake of growth. The law of productive dissociation is the source of psyche’s (...) adaptive power and an explanation of the structure of its illnesses. (shrink)
The process-dissociation procedure was used to estimate the influence of spatial and form-based processing in the Simon task. Subjects made manual responses to the direction of arrows . The results provide evidence that the form and spatial location of a single stimulus can have functionally independent effects on performance. They also indicate the existence of two kinds of automaticity—an associative component that reflects prior S-R mappings and a nonassociative component that reflects the correspondence between stimulus and response codes.
Wainwright and Reingold presented equations for various versions of the process dissociation procedure that has been used to separate conscious and unconscious memory processes. In the present reply it is suggested that these equations, though helpful, may not capture some of the key theoretical possibilities that could help to resolve apparent contradictions and paradoxes in the empirical literature. Specifically, there could be an independence ofprocessesthat might be estimated to a sufficient degree of accuracy for some theoretical purposes despite a violation (...) of the assumption ofstochasticindependence. (shrink)
Very young children occasionally commit scale errors, which involve a dramatic dissociation between planning and control: A child's visual representation of the size of a miniature object is not used in planning an action on it, but is used in the control of the action. Glover's planning–control model offers a very useful framework for analyzing this newly documented phenomenon.
In the realm of language a special case of mimetic illusion is the calembour, where the sound of a phrase signifies something else than what is written. At the end of the XVI century the artistic expression of this phenomenon gave birth to the paintings of Arcimboldo, who separated the contour of an object form the linear organization of the surface, in order to feature another object, through a kind of “polyphonic” dissociation between meaning and form. Strangely enough, nothing has (...) been written, in modern musicology, about the musical analogue of this phenomenon, but one can prove that it was not confined to paintings. The art of dissociating signs and meanings, was very well known by musicians not only through poetics, but also through musical mathematics, and above all by the study of the ancient Greek theory of metabolai, about the qualitative change of an harmonic form through the ambiguity created with others forms. (shrink)
Pulvermüller's Hebbian model implies that an impairment in the word form system will affect phonological articulation and phonological comprehension, because there is only a single representation. Clinical evidence from patients with word-form deafness demonstrates a dissociation between input and output phonologies. These data suggest that auditory comprehension and articulatory production depend on discrete phonological representations localized in different cortical networks.
Now that consciousness is thoroughly out of the way, we can focus more precisely on the kinds of things that can happen underneath. A contrast can be made between dissociation and repression. Dissociation is where a memory record or set of autobiographical memory records cannot be retrieved; repression is where there is retrieval of a record but, because of the current task specification, the contents of the record, though entering into current processing, are not allowed into consciousness. I look at (...) hypnotic amnesia and dissociative identity disorder in relation to this contrast. (shrink)
Following recent trends in the historiography of psychology and psychiatry we argue that psychical research was an important influence in the development of concepts about dissociation. To illustrate this point, we discuss American psychologist and philosopher William James's writings about mediumship, secondary personalities, and hypnosis. Some of James's work on the topic took place in the context of research conducted by the American Society for Psychical Research, such as his early work with the medium Leonora E. Piper . James Following (...) recent trends in the historiography of psychology and psychiatry we argue that psychical research was an important influence in the development of concepts about dissociation. To illustrate this point, we discuss American psychologist and philosopher William James's writings about mediumship, secondary personalities, and hypnosis. Some of James's work on the topic took place in the context of research conducted by the American Society for Psychical Research, such as his early work with the medium Leonora E. Piper . James's work is an example of the influence of psychical research on several aspects of psychology such as early models of the unconscious and of dissociation's work is an example of the influence of psychical research on several aspects of psychology such as early models of the unconscious and of dissociation. (shrink)
High-order constructs such as intelligence result from the interaction of numerous processing systems, one of which is language. However, in determining the role of language in intelligence, attention must be paid to evidence from lesion studies and, in particular, evidence of dissociation of functions where high-order cognition can be demonstrated in face of profound aphasia.
If two stimuli need different times to be processed, this difference should in principle be reflected both by response times (RT) and by judgments of their temporal order (TOJ). However, several dissociations have been reported between RT and TOJ, e.g., RT is more affected than TOJ when stimulus intensity decreases. One account for these dissociations is to assume differences in the allocation of attention induced by the two tasks. To test this hypothesis, different distributions of attention were induced in the (...) present study between two stimulus positions (above and below fixation). Only bright stimuli appeared in one position and either bright or dim stimuli in the other. In the two RT experiments, participants had to respond to every stimulus appearing in one of the two positions. Reaction times to bright stimuli were faster when they appeared in the position where dim stimuli were likely to occur. This finding suggests that the allocation of attention was adapted to the asymmetrical arrangement of stimuli, not suggested by explicit instruction. In the two TOJ experiments, the temporal order of stimuli appearing in the two positions had to be judged. Although bright stimuli appearing at the bright-and-dim location were judged to be earlier, this effect was small and insignificant. Further, the intensity dissociation between RT and TOJ was insensitive to random vs blockwise presentations of intensities, therefore was not modified by attentional preferences. Thus, asymmetrical arrangement of stimuli has an impact on the allocation of attention, but only in the RT task. Therefore dissociations between TOJ and response times cannot be accounted for by an attentional bias in the TOJ task but probably by different use of temporal information in the two tasks. (shrink)