Physiological measurement of the process of perspective shift in the imagery of depression
CitationÖZER, A., KROMER, E., EREMSOY, E. (2012). Physiological measurement of the process of perspective shift in the imagery of depression. International Journal of Psychology, Vol. 47, pp. 67-67. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00207594.2012.709136.
Previous studies on the effect of imagining an event from a field vs. observer perspective on emotional experience have mostly relied on the subjective and retrospective self-reports of the participants. The present study aims to measure and justify the effects of the process of perspective shift on the experience of depression by using physiological responses. Eighty-six participants were asked to imagine themselves in a situation in which they have experienced high levels of depression. Once the original perspective they used during imagery process was established, they were asked to shift to the other perspective and then back to the original one. Gender differences were found only in surface electromyography responses of observers. Gender collapsed results indicated that heart rate responses decreased significantly when those starting with an observer perspective shifted to a field perspective. A similar but nonsignificant trend was detected for those starting with a field perspective. Again for fielders, electromyography responses tended to decrease when they were asked to shift to an observer perspective. However, for observers, electromyography responses were not influenced by perspective shift. This result may indicate that in case of depression, irrespective of the original perspective of the imagery, changing the perspective has a decreasing effect on intensity of emotional experience. In general, the findings provide physiological evidence that perspective shift effects emotional experience. However, the effects of perspective shift in imagery of depression were quite different than the effects observed in test anxiety and anger.