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An Examination of the Perceptual Asymmetries of Depressed Persons as Mediated by Hypnosis

Description: This study evaluated the role of asymmetric processing of information in depression. Depression has been hypothesized to involve a deficit in the global processing of information (Tucker, 1982). This type of global processing has been manipulated through the use of hypnosis by Crawford and Allen (1983). In the current study, a 3 x 2 ANCOVA design allowed the comparison of three groups of subjects on their performance on a perceptual task measuring global perception. The task chosen was designed by Navon (1977) and consisted of designs which differed on global or local features. The groups were screened with the Beck Depression Inventory, the Harvard Group Scale of Hypnotic Susceptibility, and the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory, yielding 46 subjects divided into three groups of right-handed males and females. The experimental group consisted of high susceptible depressives from the community. The controls were one group of high susceptible normals and one of low susceptible depressives. All groups performed the Navon task under both waking and hypnosis conditions. Analysis of the results revealed a main effect for group (F(2, 86) = 9.60, p < .01) on the global scores. In addition, high social desirability scores predicted slower presentation times. However, hypnosis was not effective in creating a significant change in performance on the dependent measure. The results are discussed as support for the hypothesized differences between depressives and normals. Differences between the measures used in the present study and that of Crawford and Allen suggest that hypnosis may mediate imagery at a conceptual level but not at the level of the primary visual-perceptual system.
Date: August 1986
Creator: Wilson, Lucy Erma
Partner: UNT Libraries