In article <16C7712BA6.firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
And in article <email@example.com> firstname.lastname@example.org
(Suzanne Patricia Johnson) replies:
>Articles on reality monitoring:
>Johnson, Marcia K., and Raye, Carol L. ``Reality Monitoring'' _Psychol.
>Rev._, 88(1):67-85 (1981)
>Johnson, Marcia K. (1988) ``Reality Monitoring: An Experimental Phenomeno-
>logical Approach'' _J Exp Psychol Gen_ 117(4):390-394
>Johnson, Marcia K., Foley, Mary Ann, Suengas, Aurora G., and Raye, Carol L.
>(1988) _J Exp Psychol Gen_ 117(4):371-376. Ooops! Title:
>"Phenomenal Characteristics of Memories for Percieved and Autobiographical
This posting struck my attention because it deals with a topic often explored in NLP seminars: ``How do you tell the difference between a real memory and something imaginary?''
Of course in NLP it is pretty much axiomatic that one will discover that different people have different strategies for this, whereas the papers above were produced using a methodology that looks for one-size-fits-all strategies.
The papers by Johnson concluded that two main methods are used: real memories are remembered with greater detail than fantasies and they are known to be real because of contextual clues --- i.e. they have ties to other events in the person's past.
Johnson never explored the possibility of submodality distinctions. Presumably, being a scientist she has never felt the need to look in NLP books and has never heard of submodalities. However it still seems surprising that she apparently never even considered the association/dissociation distinction. It seems a very natural hypothesis that many people might remember actual memories in the way they actually experienced them at the time, seeing them through their own eyes as a participant, but would experience fantasies by seeing themselves from an external viewpoint, as if watching a movie of oneself going through the experience.
In article <CG0DF8.654@news.Hawaii.Edu> I wrote:
>The methodology used by scientific psychologists sometimes seems to me
>designed to obtain as little information as possible. Sometimes the
>inquiry seems almost intentionally to stop just at the point where it
>seems that something interesting is about to be discovered. If I weren't
>an academic myself, I'd almost think that there is some kind of
>conspiracy at work here, that psychologists are afraid that they'll run
>out new things to discover so there is some sort of union rule that one
>study should only be allowed to discover a very small amount.
>In my opinion, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and the value of
>a methodology is proved by the results one obtains. And I just don't see
>that those studying imagery scientifically are getting good results.
>(More on this in my next posting.)
[I think that the present posting is the promised ``next posting.'' ]
It took Johnson (and co-authors) three papers to tell the world that people recognize real memories because they have more detail and are tied in to other events in their past. I've got to tell you, in an NLP seminar this discovery (which would be obtained after doing a half-hour exercise) would be considered scarcely noteworthy.
Furthermore, the discoveries students made in the NLP exercise would be tested in a very convincing way in the second half of the exercise, which would be to assist one's partner in taking an imaginary experience and changing it so that it seemed real.
When I was actually doing NLP with people (non-professionally) rather than writing about it on usenet, I helped a number of subjects to create imaginary memories. Most especially, I found that a number of people were very attracted by the idea of going back to a particular point in their past and kidnapping their younger selves, so they could then raise them up themselves. I had them go through this experience both from the point of view of the mature self as the kidnapper and the point of view of the younger self being kidnapped.
I did not really want, of course, for my ``client'' to really believe that this experience had actually happened, but I wanted it to seem sufficiently real to have an impact on them. And I didn't need to read research papers to know that the way to make it seem real was to build in a lot of detail and to tie it to the client's actual past by choosing a specific date in their childhood when the kidnapping would happen.
I didn't use explicit hypnosis, but simply constructed the experience by asking questions: ``Where are you? What does the room look like? What time of day is it? What time of year is it? What's the weather like, what's the temperature of the air? What does that little girl --- your younger self --- look like? What's she wearing? What's the expression on her face when she sees you? What do you say to her and what does she say back? What does she feel like when you pick her up?''
I used questions that I knew would cause my subject to ``associate into'' the experience, and also would elicit auditory and kinesthetic information as well as visual. (This is another distinction that Johnson apparently didn't think to ask about: the possibility that in a real memory one would remember body feelings, whereas fantasies might be more purely visual.)
Let me say a little more about submodalities. Location and distance are usually important submodalities. And here I'm referring not to the content of an image (or ``auditory image'') but to where the image itself is located and how far away it is. For me, I've realized that there's a special place where I see my fantasy images, and it's almost as if they are on a screen that's actually about a yard or two in front of me, and slightly above eye level and to the right, or sometimes it almost seems as if they're in an open box, a little like a stage. And they're smaller than life-size, maybe a little bit like television, and somehow there's a *feeling* of distance. Maybe as though this screen a yard away is like a window and through it I'm seeing something further away and dimly lit.
Whereas real memories mostly seem to be three dimensional and right in front of me, filling up my whole visual field (``panoramic,'' NLP people would say), or at least not delineated into some special framed space. And I sometimes definitely remember body sensations in the real memories, but never in fantasies unless I deliberately try and enrich them.
But this is misleading, because there are real memories which I actually remember in a way that's like a fantasy --- when I actually think about it, they don't really seem real but it's more as if they've turned into a story.
As far as association/dissociation, I see the memories I really remember (in a non-fictionalized form) associated --- from ``first position.'' Whereas at least in a lot of cases, I see the fictionalized memories from an external point of view (third position). And in fantasies, there is likely to be more of a shifting viewpoint but I seldom actually see *myself* from third position in fantasies. Instead, what I've discovered is that most often in a fantasy *I* won't be in the picture at all, even though I know what I'm seeing is something that's happening to me. The image may be like a movie shot from third position but not really showing me (or maybe I'm somewhere in the shadows) or shot from the viewpoint that would correspond to my own eyes, but I usually won't have any sense of actually being there.
Now one thing I've discovered through trying to change the way I see various real and imagined experiences is that the fantasies and story-like memories have greater impact on me than the real-seeming memories. It's as if reality is boring, whereas the fictionalized experiences have greater emotional content. (This is related to the well-known saying that the way to ruin a great sexual fantasy is to actually experience it.)
This is one reason I've tried to learn how to make fantasies and fictionalized memories seem real. (It's as if I can then say ``You mean THIS is what I've been worrying about/afraid of/feeling unhappy about/ being depressed because I can't have? Now that I see what it's really like it's not such a big deal.'') The other reason is just pure experimentation.
Lots of times if I really try I can take the darkish small fantasy image and enlarge it, brighten it up, and then bring it right into the room with me now. Have the other person sitting right next to me on my sofa, for instance. (Of course I don't actually *see* this. As I've mentioned in previous postings, I'm a person who ``doesn't visualize.'' But I can still *imagine* that I'm seeing something.)
Also, for fantasies, I can search my memory for real memories that have some of the components of the fantasy and then alter them. This is especially useful for bringing body sensations into the fantasy.
Then, rarely, if I really want to have fun and make them it like an actual memory, I can take this created real-seeming experience and move it back into the past. But for the moment I don't know how to describe how I do that --- it seems like I just do it. My NLP friends would say that it has to do with my timeline and maybe it does --- I don't know.
Needless to say, I'm only telling you what I myself am like. I make no claim that it's the same way for other people. In fact, almost every therapist who has ever worked with me has told me that my mind works really differently from that of most people. They seem to mean it as a compliment and I do my best to take it that way.