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(6B) The Narcissistic over-emphasis of the sexual function.
This (when projected on to the community) leads to
a desire for a high birth rate. (6C) The fear that Malthusianism may lead to the extinction
of the individual family (this fear being largely due to
a Narcissistic identification of the Self with the family). (7) An unwillingness to contemplate any divorce between Sexuality
and Reproduction—this being chiefly due to the fear of re
moving the 'natural' obstacles to sexual pleasure. VI. A full recognition of the view here advocated (together with the implied recognition of Malthusian principles) may therefore be very long delayed; but there are reasons why it should not be indefinitely postponed. But even if recognised, appropriate action may still be delayed owing to various difficulties, e.g. (a) the question of how the relative fertility of various classes and nations is to be controlled (especially in the case of culturally inferior nations and classes), (b) the fear of sexual pleasure and of general mental stagnation consequent upon easier conditions of life.
But if, in spite of these difficulties, the struggle for existence is abolished as a result of adequate birth control, we may expect that a freer attitude towards sexual problems and sexual desires will result. The two aspects of the antagonism between Individuation and Genesis will however affect sexual inhibition differently. The inhibitions due to over-reproduction will be entirely removed, but the need for sublimation will remain and will continue to necessitate a considerable degree of sexual inhibition, the actual intensity of the inhibition from this source depending on a number of factors—biological, psychological and ethical in nature.
SOME PROPERTIES OF COMPLEX INDICATORS.
By W. WHATELY SMITH.
The word-association test has already proved of great value in enabling us to work out the differences between various mental conditions, and there is no reason to suppose that the limit of its usefulness has yet been reached. I believe, on the contrary, that it is capable of considerable further development, and that the use of the psycho-galvanic reflex in conjunction with it is especially calculated to increase its power as a method of research and also, very probably, of diagnosis.
The material obtained from a word-association test consists, first, of the reaction words themselves whose form may throw light on the psychological type to which the subject belongs, and second, of observations on the ‘complex-indicators' evoked by the various words. These two divisions overlap to some extent; on the one hand some forms of reaction word are themselves often complex-indicators-repetition of stimulus words, ‘stereotypes,' etc.—while, on the other, certain properties of the complex-indicators may be relevant to the question of psychological type, e.g. the ratio of the arithmetic mean to the probable mean of the reaction time.
Each of these groups of data is amenable to mathematical treatment, and it is just this possibility of applying a purely objective and quantitative process of analysis to the content of the individual mind that makes the method so uniquely valuable.
The precision and reliability of the results which it yields must necessarily depend on the accuracy with which we interpret the indications which it affords; it follows that the more thoroughly we understand the properties of complex-indicators and the relations between them, the more satisfactorily shall we be able to analyse any mental condition to which we apply the method.
Many complex-indicators have been noted; the more important are: prolongation of reaction time, disturbance of reproduction in the “reproduction test,' too-large psycho-galvanic reflex, reaction with two or more words when the subject usually reacts with one word, repetition of the stimulus-word, misunderstanding of the stimulus-word, faults, slips of speech, translation into a foreign language, reaction with an otherwise unusual foreign word, interpolation of 'Yes' or some other exclamation before or after the reaction, unusual content of the reaction, perseveration in essence and in form1.
I am here concerned only with the first three of these, viz.:
Note.--All reaction times were measured, and are given, in fifths of seconds.
Of these the first has received by far the greatest attention; the only work with which I am acquainted on the use of the psycho-galvanic reflex as a complex-indicator is that of Binswangero; and some experiments on the "B.C. A." case by Prince and Petersen. Even the reproduction test has not gained the recognition it deserves—I shall give below reasons for believing it to be one of the most reliable of complexindicators.
In the course of the discussion I shall use freely the terms 'positive affective tone' and 'negative affective tone' which I introduced in the course of a paper on “Memory and Affective Tone” which appeared in the General Section of the British Journal of Psychology for January 1921. Positive affective tone is defined as that variety of tone which tends to attract attention or to promote the accession to consciousness of those 'ideas' or presentations whose presence therein it accompanies,
‘ while negative tone is the variety possessed of the opposite properties 4. For the sake of brevity I shall speak of positively toned words,' meaning stimulus words such that the ideas evoked by them are accompanied by positive tone when present in consciousness, and of ' negatively toned words’ in a similar sense.
I have shown in the paper cited above that the remembering of a list of words learned is markedly influenced by the affective tone of the words and, further, that the affective tone may tend either to promote or to impede memory and must therefore be of two opposite kinds which I have termed 'positive' and 'negative' respectively. I now propose to assume this as established and to use the 'memory value' of the stimulus word of a reaction as a guide to the affective quality of that reaction.
At this point I must guard against the possible criticism that I am
1 Jung, Studies in Word Association, p. 405. 2 Loc. cit. pp. 446–530.
3 Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1908. • In general “positive' will correspond to pleasant’tone, and 'negative'to unpleasant, but this correspondence is not necessarily invariable.
arguing in a circle, as who should premise A in order to deduce B and then premise B in order to deduce A. Such a criticism would be unjustified. My only assumption with regard to my work on memory was that the complex-indicators concerned did, in general, indicate affective tone—an assumption which, I imagine, no one would wish to dispute. I then showed experimentally that memory is influenced by affective tone and that two varieties of the latter must be postulated in order to account for the effects observed: these conclusions, again, are entirely in harmony with general psychological knowledge. I also found that somewhat different, albeit congruent, results were obtained according to the complex-indicator used to detect and measure the tone.
I now assume:
Of these (i) was the initial assumption while (i) and (iii) are not only acceptable on general grounds but also necessary deductions from my experimental results.
I now propose to investigate the differences between complex-indicators, not to prove their common quality of indicating affective tone.
The first point to which I wish to draw attention is the fact that positive affective tone is as 'real' a thing as negative tone. So far as I am aware this is a matter which has been wholly overlooked by all who have worked with the association test. The reason is obvious enough; this branch of psychological research has always been closely connected with psychopathology, and those who have studied it have approached it from an essentially pathological standpoint. Now, in psychopathology the negatively toned, conflict-producing complex is all important; this, the true 'complex,' is the fons et origo mali in pathological conditions and it is this, therefore, which the psychopathologist is anxious to identify and eradicate? Positively toned constellations do not interest him and he has not considered the possibility of detecting them. Their existence ought not, however, to be ignored by the psychologist who is concerned with the general theory of mental activity. In studying the changes in mental content corresponding to different conditions it would clearly be unwise to ignore any opportunity of identifying as many elements, or kinds of elements, as possible, and if it can be shown that positively toned constellations and not complexes' only can be detected by suitable means, this fact is likely to be of value. In the paper referred to above I gave some reason for supposing that
1 N.B. Negative' tone is, by definition, the kind of tone which tends to drive ideas from consciousness, i.e. to lead to their “repression.'
? It is rash, perhaps, to suggest the addition of yet another term to the already so difficult vocabulary of psychology, but I think that the word 'Eridogenic,' meaning conflict-producing, might sometimes be useful in this connection. Some authorities use the word 'complex' in a purely pathological sense, others as synonymous with constellation and to denote any relatively stable group of ideas. (Cf. Bernard Hart, The Psychology of Insanity.) The trend of general usage seems to be in the direction of the former practice and this will doubtless become universal in due course. Meanwhile the qualifying adjective ‘eridogenic,' which perfectly suggests the essential features of the repressed complex, might advantageously be used in cases of doubt.
I the psycho-galvanic reflex shows positive affective tone as well as negative, and that disturbances in the reproduction test were predominantly indicative of negative tone; prolongation of reaction time I surmised to be a less definite indicator than either of the others—but to be, on the whole, more indicative of negative than of positive tone.
These opinions were based on the general form of the curves connecting Memory with intensity of affective tone as measured by the indicators concerned; I have since succeeded in bringing out the points in question more clearly by another method.
The material used is that gathered in the course of the experiments on memory. Of the 50 subjects then examined 22 performed the reproduction test; of these I exclude one whose reaction times were not recorded and three who failed to complete the memory part of the experiment. We are thus left with 18 subjects with regard to whom observations were made on all three complex-indicators and who also completed the memory test.
Any reaction given by one of these subjects might be accompanied by any one of the following eight arrangements of complex-indicators:
Call this class 'O'
(i) None (ii) A “too-long' reaction time only (iii) A “too-large' galvanometer deflection only (iv) Disturbance in reproduction only (v) A ‘too-long' time coupled with a 'too-large’ deflection (vi) A “too-long' time coupled with a disturbance in repro
duction (vii) A 'too-large' deflection coupled with a disturbance in
reproduction (viii) All three of these
(Note.-By 'too-long' time or “too-large' deflection I mean a time or deflection larger than the Probable Mean, which is that value of the variate above and below which variates are equally numerous; it is also known as the median.' Under the heading of 'disturbance in repro