An experimental study of the thematic structure of primal-scene imagery

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Abstract

Describes an experimental method in which the affective reactions evoked by primal-scene imagination were quantitatively assessed and systematically compared with those reactions evoked by the imagination of other scenes that usually elicit various theoretically related themes. 50 college-age persons, 25 males and 25 females, imagined a scene of their parents engaging in sexual relations, as well as other scenes emphasizing incestuous sexuality, loss and aloneness, or cognitive-confusion themes, and rated their reactions to each. Commonalities in reactions to the primal scene and the other scenes indicated that incest and aloneness themes underlie reactions to primal-scene imagery for this population. Data are consistent with observations from the clinical situation. It is expected that the scene-comparison method, which is a new research technique, will have further application for studies of unconscious processes and mental imagery. (11 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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