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Appelbaum, S.A. (1961). Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. LX, 1960: Incidental Stimulation: A Study of Preconscious Transformations. Fred Pine. Pp. 68-75.. Psychoanal Q., 30:150.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. LX, 1960: Incidental Stimulation: A Study of Preconscious Transformations. Fred Pine. Pp. 68-75.

(1961). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 30:150

Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. LX, 1960: Incidental Stimulation: A Study of Preconscious Transformations. Fred Pine. Pp. 68-75.

Stephen A. Appelbaum

The mode of thinking, characterized by the primary process, emerges in normal adult life in conditions where the reality-adaptive functions of the ego, including the ego's function of critical guidance of the direction of thinking, are in abeyance—for example, in dreams or on the analytic couch. The central hypothesis of this study is that the vicissitudes of irrelevant incidental stimuli are governed more by the laws of the primary process thinking while those of relevant focal stimuli are governed more by the laws of the secondary process. The subjects told two stories, with standard TAT instructions, to ambiguous stimuli. Following this, two stimuli were administered simultaneously. The focal stimulus was a written passage that the subjects were asked to read as a measure of their ordinary reading speed. The incidental stimulus was a similar passage broadcast through the wall from an adjoining room, a passage consistently experienced by the subjects as irrelevant 'noise'. The two passages, describing a cow and a hook, were respectively devised to convey oral-passive and phallic-aggressive connotations, each being incidental half the time while the other was simultaneously focal. Finally, the subjects again told two stories. Using the pre-stories as a control, the post-stories were examined for support for the prediction that irrelevant incidental stimuli tend to emerge in the stories in more transformed ways while relevant focal stimuli emerge in more direct ways. These predictions were borne out. The results are discussed in relation to recent work in subliminal stimulation, and the conditions for transformation of incidental stimuli, as well as in regard to psychoanalytic theory of primary and secondary process.

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Article Citation

Appelbaum, S.A. (1961). Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. LX, 1960. Psychoanal. Q., 30:150

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