Home Boris Sidis Archives Table of Contents Next Chapter
Boris Sidis, M. A., Ph.D.,
MEMORY AND INTELLIGENCE OF THE SUBCONSCIOUS
THE memory and intelligence subconscious systems are fairly the following experiments:
Patient was put in the hypnotic state and a posthypnotic suggestion given to her to fall into hypnosis when Dr. W. counted to a certain number. Awakened by counting. Distraction by reading. Dr. W. stood back of her and counted; when he got to the right number she immediately fell into hypnosis. She was again hypnotized and a post-hypnotic suggestion given to her that Dr. W. will repeat a number of names to her, and when he says the same name twice she will at once fall into hypnosis. Awakened by counting. Distraction by reading. Dr. W. talks to her and tells her to raise her hand and arm in the air, and adjust the book in her hand, Dr. W. standing behind her and speaking in a low tone. When the reading stopped she did not know that anyone had spoken to her or why her hand was in the air. Distraction again by reading. Dr. W. calls out names, repeats one without effect―then repeats first name called and she falls into hypnosis. In hypnosis she could tell several of the names and the one which produced hypnosis. Says she fell into hypnosis because she could not help it.
Again hypnotized. A post-hypnotic suggestion was given that Dr. W. would call out names and when he pronounced the name of a girl, she would fall into hypnosis. Awakened by counting. Distraction by reading. Dr. W. calls names behind her in low tone and when he pronounces a girl's name she immediately falls into hypnosis.
The intelligence of the dissociated subconscious systems can be clearly seen from the fact that they were able to identify names, to recognize the name when repeated, and to discriminate between the name of male and female. All this is done by the subconscious while the patient's principal personal consciousness is ignorant of what is going on. The patient was unable to tell during the post-hypnotic waking state what had been whispered to her while in the condition of distraction. By no means was she able to bring to memory the faintest trace left by the external stimulus. To all intents and purposes it seemed as if she did not hear and could not therefore recollect. She really did not perceive the external stimulus, but the subconscious systems did. The external impression did not reach the patient's contracted personal consciousness, but did reach and remain within the subconscious regions of her mental life. It was due to the perception by the subconscious systems that a discrimination of the stimuli was performed and a corresponding reaction was brought about in response.
The intelligence of the subconscious was still further shown by the fact that a suggestion was made in the hypnotic state that when she awoke and Dr. W. made a number of calculations, she should go to sleep at a correct one, but no matter how many wrong ones were made, she should pay no attention to them, She was awakened and as usual was completely amnesic to what had occurred in the hypnotic state. We used as before the method of distraction. As long as Dr. W. was whispering wrong calculations, there was no reaction, but as soon as a correct one was given, she immediately fell into the hypnotic state.
Here the patient did not perceive directly the scarcely audible acoustic stimuli, but the subconscious did, and' not only did perceive the acoustic stimuli, but also knew their meaning, recognized them, and was so highly intelligent as to discriminate between the wrong and right results, showing memory by reacting in the prearranged form to the right calculation.
During the time we carried on these experiments testing the memory. recognition, and discrimination of the dissociated subconscious, tracings were taken with the pneumograph and each time she was awakened by counting. The pneumographic tracings revealed disturbances to stimuli of which the patient was not conscious, but which, nevertheless, effected and called out psychomotor disturbances of the dissociated subconscious regions. (Tracings I and 2, Plate V.)
Boris Menu Next