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(1957). Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 1: Charles Fisher. 'Dreams, Images, and Perceptions: A Study of Unconscious-Preconscious Relationships.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:133.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 1: Charles Fisher. 'Dreams, Images, and Perceptions: A Study of Unconscious-Preconscious Relationships.'

(1957). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 38:133

Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 1: Charles Fisher. 'Dreams, Images, and Perceptions: A Study of Unconscious-Preconscious Relationships.'

In this paper Fisher describes his repetition of the tachistoscopic experiments of Allers and Teler (1924) with certain modifications of his own. Pictures were exposed to subjects for a period of ten milliseconds. In some of the experiments the subjects were presented with a word association test a few minutes later and in further experiments the test was not employed until some 72 hours after the exposure of the pictures. The subjects were asked to report and draw any images which might appear in their minds during the association test. Following the word association test the stimulus picture was gradually re-exposed at increasing time intervals until it was clearly perceived. The subjects of the experiments were male and female patients from the Department of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai Hospital.

Five separate groups of experiments were conducted: the first to illustrate the appearance of preconscious percepts in image formation 72 hours after registration; the second to illustrate the process of condensation in image formation; the third to demonstrate how size and perspective relationships related to preconscious percepts are ignored in image formation; the fourth to illustrate the compulsive emergence of preconscious percepts during image formation; the fifth, to show the duplication or the multiplication of preconsciously perceived percepts in image formation.

The results confirm the findings of Allers and Teler that the memory images of preconsciously perceived parts of tachistoscopically exposed pictures subsequently appear in conscious images as can be observed during the word association test. Of particular interest was the observation of various degrees of compulsiveness which different subjects developed in making their drawings. The subject may intend to draw a horse's head in profile but find that the pencil draws a back view of the horse's head. Again the finding that the memory image of a preconscious percept can appear in a dream as long as 5-6 days after the original tachistoscopic exposure suggests that Freud's theory that a day residue cannot be older than 24 hours is possibly incorrect.

On the basis of these experiments Fisher suggests that the process of dream distortion commences in close temporal relationship to the laying down of the memory trace of the preconscious percept associated with the day residue experience. The unconscious wish and the primary process may invade and mould aspects of conscious imagery. Freud's belief that the division between the systems unconscious and preconscious was by no means a rigid one finds experimental support in Fisher's work.

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Article Citation

(1957). Journal of the American Psycho-Analytic Association 4, 1956, No. 1. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 38:133

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