Skirting the abyss: A history of experimental explorations of automatic writing in psychology

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27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Automatic writing has been of interest to psychologists, clinicians and theoreticians of the mind both as a phenomenon in its own right and as a technique for exploring aspects of dissociation and normal and pathological consciousness. This paper follows the course of experimental investigations of automatic writing in psychology; beginning with the early work of Frederic Myers and Edmund Gurney and continuing with that of Alfred Binet, Pierre Janet, William James and Morton Prince, it centers on the 1896 experiments of Leon Solomons and Gertrude Stein, but also examines later laboratory studies. The conceptual and methodological challenges posed by automatic writing persist in such contemporary concerns as divided attention, implicit memory, and dissociations of awareness and intentionality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-27
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1992

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