Alphafunction Hypothesis

Indian-born British psychoanalyst Wilfred R. Bion (1897-1979) proposed that a psycho-dynamic alpha function process operates in analytic psychology whereby the raw materials of emotions and sensory experience (called beta elements) are transformed into psychic elements (called alpha elements) that are suitable, in turn, for the individual's "mental digestion." See also FREUD'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY. REFERENCES

Bion, W. R. (1952). Group dynamics: A review. International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 33, 235-247. Bion, W. R. (1961). Experiences in groups. New York: Basic Books.


ALRUTZ'S THEORY. The Swedish psychologist Sydney Alrutz (1868-1925) made the suggestion at the turn of the 20th century that the simultaneous arousal of both warm and cold receptors in the skin give the resultant sensation of heat. A clear demonstration of a hot sensation that results from the simultaneous stimulation of neighboring warmth and cold receptors is the so-called synthetic heat experiment, where no genuine heat is applied, but warm spots are subjected to moderate warmth and cold spots to cold. Under these conditions, the first sensation is usually cold, which is followed by heat, which disappears after a few seconds and then gives the sensation of cold again. This theory is related to the phenomenon of paradoxical cold, where the sensation of cold results from a warm stimulus (von Frey, 1895). The case for paradoxical cold and synthetic heat is not completely conclusive, and there is some evidence against Alrutz's theory. Related theories in this area of the stimulation of cutaneous senses are the concentration the ory of cutaneous cold and the spot theory of temperature senses (Jenkins, 1941). See also NAFE'S THEORY OF CUTANEOUS SENSITIVITY. REFERENCES

Von Frey, M. (1895). Beitrage zur sinnesphysiologie des haut. Berichte sachsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaft, Leipzig, Math./Physiks, 47, 166-184.

Alrutz, S. (1897). Omfornimmelsen "hett."

Uppsala Lakforen, 2, 340-359. Alrutz, S. (1908). Untersuchungen uber die temperatursinne. Zeitschrift fur Psychologie, 47, 161-202; 241-286. Burnett, N., & Dallenbach, K. (1927). The experience of heat. American Journal of Psychology, 38, 418-431. Jenkins, W. (1938). Studies in thermal sensitivity. Further evidence against the Alrutz theory. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 23, 411-422. Jenkins, W. (1941). Studies in thermal sensitivity. Further evidence on the effects of stimulus temperature. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 29, 413-419.


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