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Tip: To review the bibliography…

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It is always useful to review an article’s bibliography and references to get a deeper understanding of the psychoanalytic concepts and theoretical framework in it.

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Holzman, P.S. (1952). Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. XLVI, 1951: Reindividualizing the Repression Hypothesis. Lillian Belmont and Herbert G. Birch. Pp. 226–235.. Psychoanal Q., 21:454.
    
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. XLVI, 1951: Reindividualizing the Repression Hypothesis. Lillian Belmont and Herbert G. Birch. Pp. 226–235.

(1952). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 21:454

Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. XLVI, 1951: Reindividualizing the Repression Hypothesis. Lillian Belmont and Herbert G. Birch. Pp. 226–235.

Philip S. Holzman

Belmont and Birch operationally define repression as the forgetting of nonsense syllables learned under conditions of 'negative affect'—the experiencing of an electric shock. They find that of a group of fifty-five college students, thirty-eight learned the shock syllables at a greater rate than the no-shock syllables, while sixteen found it more difficult to learn the shock syllables. One subject learned the shock and no-shock syllables at an equal rate. In a recognition test, all subjects were able to recognize all the syllables correctly. The authors' principal conclusion is that 'when strong negative affect is attached to learning material the recall of this material is significantly less than the recall of neutral material for some individuals, and significantly more than the recall of neutral material for others'. 'Repression', or forgetting the nonsense syllables, is one of the ways people may cope with this particular learning situation.

The basic assumption of the study, that repression was measured, is open to serious question. It is not likely that in this situation an instinctual derivative was being coped with in the forgetting or slow learning of the nonsense syllables. It appears, rather, that the authors were observing the various ways in which their subjects coped with extraneous distractors (electric shocks) as these impinged on the learning of a list of nonsense syllables.

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Article Citation

Holzman, P.S. (1952). Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. XLVI, 1951. Psychoanal. Q., 21:454

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