GOAL-DIRECTED FANTASY, THE EXPERIENCE OF NONVOLITION, AND COMPLIANCE

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Abstract:

In a study of suggested arm levitation, Spanos and Barber (1972) concluded that subjects tended to experience suggestions as more non-volitional when instructed to engage in goal-directed fantasy. An attempt was made to test the viability of an interpretation of their findings in terms of compliance. A group of 48 subjects was instructed to simulate a response to an arm levitation suggestion. The suggestion was worded in one of four different ways, varying from a direct command to an instruction to engage in goal-directed fantasy. The simulated responses were similar to those found by Spanos and Barber; the arm levitation suggestion was reported as more involuntary when the subjects were asked to engage in a goal-directed fantasy. After the simulation part of the experiment, subjects were asked to report what they actually experienced. The trend for more non volition with goal-directed fantasy was significantly diminished in these non-simulated reports.

It was concluded that the results of Spanos and Barber are readily explicable in terms of compliance, and thus the immediate clinical applicability of the concept of goal-directed fantasy may be limited.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1977.5.2.389

Publication date: January 1, 1977

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