The Experiences Accompanying Olfactory Stimulation
The study reported in this paper reflects a concern that goes back a number of years; that concern is with the way in which imagery varies as a function of the state of the subject and environmental conditions. Wolpin and Hamlin (1958) briefly reviewed some literature which suggested that various states, e.g., falling asleep (hypnogogic), waking up (hypnopompic), and “regression in the service of the ego” (a concept from psychoanalysis), what we might now refer to as “altered states of consciousness,” may play a role in freeing up thinking and the imagination, thus enhancing one’s creative processes. There is considerable anecdotal evidence to support this, one of the most famous being Kekule’s discovery of the benzene ring while in a semi-awake state. In 1974, Wolpin and Kirsch reported on a study in which they found that certain dimensions of imagery may vary as a function of muscle state, e.g., when one’s muscles are relaxed, a calm ocean is visualized and when tensed, a stormy one. Other aspects of the images also changed, e.g., the speed with which things were seen as moving and the friendliness of the scene.
KeywordsGeneral Reaction Peanut Butter Muscle State Olfactory Stimulation Initial Relaxation
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