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JUNG'S ASSOCIATION EXPERIMENT

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					Extracted from Marion Woodman (1982, p11-15)


            JUNG’S ASSOCIATION EXPERIMENT


     “Where the realm of the complexes begins, the freedom of the ego comes to an end…”

                      (Jung, A Review of the Complex Theory)


“In his early career, Jung developed an empirical method of detecting what he
subsequently called feeling-toned complexes. At first he simply elicited a series of
spontaneous responses to a number of chosen stimulus words, attempting to
establish the average speed and quality of the responses. He discovered, however,
that more important than the reaction time was the way in which the method was
disturbed by the autonomous nature of the psyche. […]
Jung defined the complex as follows:



“It is the image of a certain psychic situation which is strongly accentuated
emotionally and is, moreover, incompatible with the habitual attitude of
consciousness. This image has a powerful inner coherence, it has its own
wholeness and, in addition, a relatively high degree of autonomy, so that it is
subject to the control of the conscious mind only to a limited extent, and therefore
behaves like an animated foreign body in the sphere of consciousness. The
complex can usually be suppressed with an effort of will, but not argued out of
existence, and at the first suitable opportunity it reappears in all its original
strength.”


[Thus it dissociates consciousness…]



In the experimental situation, the complexes provoke disturbed reactions, the most
frequent being delayed reaction time. An active complex puts us momentarily
under a spell of compulsive thinking and acting. Jung felt “moderately certain” that
complexes were “splinter psyches” which appear in personified form in our
dreams when there is no inhibiting consciousness to suppress them. Their origin is
frequently trauma or an emotional shock that splits off part of the psyche.


[…]



The more unconscious the individual is, the greater autonomy the complex has,
even to the point where it may assimilate the ego, the result being a momentary
alteration of personality known as “identification with the complex”.


[…The complex is…] the architect of dreams and symptoms.




Reference
Woodman, M, (1982) The Owl was a Baker’s Daughter: Obesity, Anorexia Nervosa and the
Repressed Feminine (Inner City Books)

				
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posted:6/12/2013
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