fMRI responses to Jung's Word Association Test: implications for theory, treatment and research

Petchkovsky, Leon, Petchkovsky, Michael, Morris, Philip, Dickson, Paul, Montgomery, Danielle, Dwyer, Jonathan and Burnett, Patrick (2013) fMRI responses to Jung's Word Association Test: implications for theory, treatment and research. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 58 3: 409-431. doi:10.1111/1468-5922.12021

Author Petchkovsky, Leon
Petchkovsky, Michael
Morris, Philip
Dickson, Paul
Montgomery, Danielle
Dwyer, Jonathan
Burnett, Patrick
Title fMRI responses to Jung's Word Association Test: implications for theory, treatment and research
Journal name Journal of Analytical Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0021-8774
Publication date 2013-06
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1468-5922.12021
Open Access Status
Volume 58
Issue 3
Start page 409
End page 431
Total pages 23
Place of publication West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Jung's Word Association Test was performed under fMRI conditions by 12 normal subjects. Pooled complexed responses were contrasted against pooled neutral ones. The fMRI activation pattern of this generic ‘complexed response’ was very strong (corrected Z scores ranging from 4.90 to 5.69). The activation pattern in each hemisphere includes mirror neurone areas that track ‘otherness’ (perspectival empathy), anterior insula (both self-awareness and emotional empathy), and cingulated gyrus (self-awareness and conflict-monitoring). These are the sites described by Siegel and colleagues as the ‘resonance circuitry’ in the brain which is central to mindfulness (awareness of self) and empathy (sense of the other), negotiations between self awareness and the ‘internal other’. But there is also an interhemispheric dialogue. Within 3 seconds, the left hemisphere over-rides the right (at least in our normal subjects).

Mindfulness and empathy are central to good psychotherapy, and complexes can be windows of opportunity if left-brain hegemony is resisted. This study sets foundations for further research: (i) QEEG studies (with their finer temporal resolution) of complexed responses in normal subjects (ii) QEEG and fMRI studies of complexed responses in other conditions, like schizophrenia, PTSD, disorders of self organization.
Keyword fMRI
Internal conflict
Iain McGilchrist
Left hemisphere
Psychological complexes
Resonance circuit
Right hemisphere
Dan Siegel
Transcendent function
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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