Regressive Imagery Dictionary
Download WordStat Versions of the RID
English version (created by Colin Martindale)
French version (translated by Robert Hogenraad)
Portuguese version (translated by Tito Cardoso e Cunha, Brigitte Detry, and Robert Hogenraad)
Swedish version (translated by Torsten Norlander, Moira Linnarud, Marika Kjellén-Simes, and Robert Hogenraad)
German version (translated by Renate Delphendahl)
Hungarian version (translated by Tibor Pólya and Levente Szász)
Latin version (translated by Ron Newbold)
Russian version (translated by Leonid Dorfman) – Under development!
Extract the content of the zip file into the WordStat Dictionary folder (by default: c:\Program files\Provalis Research\Dictionaries). Most versions of the dictionary come in two files, the main .CAT file includes the various categorization of words, while the .EXC dictionary handles exceptions by excluding specific word forms. Set the exclusion dictionary option in WordStat to the RID.EXC and the inclusion dictionary to the RID.CAT file.
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Description – The English Regressive Imagery Dictionary (RID) is composed of about 3200 words and roots assigned to 29 categories of primary process cognition, 7 categories of secondary process cognition, and 7 categories of emotions.
The Regressive Imagery Dictionary (Martindale, 1975,1990) is a content analysis coding scheme designed to measure primordial vs. conceptual thinking. Conceptual thought is abstract, logical, reality oriented, and aimed at problem solving. Primordial thought is associative, concrete, and takes little account of reality. It is the type of thinking found in fantasy, reverie, and dreams. A running tally of category occurrences is kept, and final output consists of the categories and the percentage of words in a document that were assigned to each category. This output can then be subjected to statistical analyses. The Regressive Imagery Dictionary contains about 3000 words divided into twenty-nine categories designed to measure primordial content and another set of seven categories designed to measure conceptual thought, the inverse of primordial cognition. These categories were derived from the theoretical and empirical literature on regressive thought (Martindale, 1975, 1990). The rationale behind the dictionary is that psychological processes will be reflected in the content of a text. Thus, for example, the more primordial the thought involved in producing a text, the less abstract and the more drive- and sensation-oriented words it should contain. It should be noted that the view of regressive cognition upon which construction of the dictionary was based is not a narrowly psychoanalytic one but is closer to Werner’s (1948) or Goldstein’s views (1939). Thus, the construct that the dictionary ultimately measures might as well be called dedifferentiated thinking as regressive or primary process thinking. For these reasons, we use the terms conceptual vs. primordial thought.
The dictionary yields a measure, primordial content, derived by summing the percentage of words in a text that belong to any of the component primordial content categories. Primordial content is the sum of the categories listed under the summary categories Drive, Regressive Cognition, Perceptual Disinhibition, Sensation, and Icarian Imagery in Table 1. Generally, a better measure is obtained by subtracting percentage of words in Conceptual Content from the percentage of words in Primordial Content.
Detailed evidence concerning the reliability and validity of the Regressive Imagery Dictionary is reported elsewhere (Martindale, 1975, 1990). Evidence for the construct validity of primordial vs. conceptual content comes from studies where the measure has behaved as theoretically predicted: Significantly more primordial content has been found in the poetry of poets who exhibit signs of psychopathology than in that of poets who exhibit no such signs (Martindale, 1975). There is also more primordial content in the fantasy stories of creative as opposed to uncreative subjects (Martindale & Dailey, 1996), in psychoanalytic sessions marked by therapeutic “work” as opposed to those marked by resistance and defensiveness (Reynes, Martindale & Dahl, 1984), and in sentences containing verbal tics as opposed to asymptomatic sentences (Martindale, 1977). A cross-cultural study of folktales from forty-five preliterate societies revealed, as predicted from the “primitive mentality” hypothesis of Lévy-Bruhl (1910) and Werner (1948), that amount of primary process content in folktales is negatively related to the degree of sociocultural complexity of the societies that produced them (Martindale, 1976). Martindale and Fischer (1977) found that psilocybin (a drug that has about the same effect as LSD) increases the amount of primordial content in written stories. Marijuana has a similar effect (West et al., 1983). Research has also revealed more primordial content in verbal productions of younger children as compared with older children (West, Martindale, & Sutton-Smith, 1985) and of schizophrenic subjects as compared with control subjects (West & Martindale, 1988). It shows the pattern expected for historical trends in primordial content in Martindale’s (1990) theory of literarary evolution. Thus, the Regressive Imagery Dictionary does seem to yield a valid index of primordial or dedifferentiated thought in a variety of contexts in which the measure varies as is theoretically expected.
Factor analyses of the categories based on the above mentioned texts have also yielded evidence for the construct validity of the dictionary. The factor analyses have consistently yielded a first factor accounting for about 30 percent of the variance which loads highly on the primordial categories and in a high negative direction on the conceptual categories.
Goldstein, K. (1939). The organism. Boston: Beacon.
Lévy-Bruhl, L. (1910). How natives think. New York: Washington Square Press, 1966.
Martindale, C. (1975). Romantic progression: The psychology of literary history. Washington, D.C.: Hemisphere.
Martindale, C. (1976). Primitive mentality and the relationship between art and society. Scientific Aesthetics, 1, 5-18.
Martindale, C. (1977). Syntactic and semantic correlates of verbal tics in Gilles de la Tourette’s syndrome: A quantitative case study. Brain and Language, 4, 231-247.
Martindale, C. (1990). The clockwork muse: The predictability of artistic change. New York: Basic Books.
Martindale, C., & Dailey, A. (1996). Creativity, primary process cognition, and personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 20, 409-414.
Martindale, C., & Fischer, R. (1977). The effects of psilocybin on primary process content in language. Confinia Psychiatrica, 20, 195-202.
Reynes, R., Martindale, C., & Dahl, H. (1984). Lexical differences between working and resistance sessions in psychoanalysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 40, 733-737.
Werner, H. (1948). Comparative psychology of mental development. New York: International Universities Press.
West, A. N., & Martindale, C. (1988). Primary process content in paranoid schizophrenic speech. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 149, 547-553.
West, A. N., Martindale, C., Hines, D., & Roth, W. (1983). Marijuana-induced primary process content in the TAT. Journal of Personality Assessment, 47, 466-467.
West, A. N., Martindale, C., & Sutton-Smith, B. (1985). Age trends in the content of children’s spontaneous fantasy narratives. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 111, 389-405.
References for translated versions
Hogenraad, R., & Orianne, E. (1986). Imagery, regressive thinking, and verbal performance in internal monologue. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 5(2), 127-145.
Regressive Imagery Dictionary Categories and Sample Words
|Oral||Breast, drink, lip|
|Anal||Sweat, rot, dirty|
|Sex||Lover, kiss, naked|
|General Sensation||Fair, charm, beauty|
|Touch||Touch, thick, stroke|
|Taste||Sweet, taste, bitter|
|Odor||Breath, perfume, scent|
|Sound||Hear, voice, sound|
|Vision||See, light, look|
|Cold||Cold, winter, snow|
|Hard||Rock, stone, hard|
|Soft||Soft, gentle, tender|
|Passivity||Die, lie, bed|
|Voyage||Wander, desert, beyond|
|Random Movement||Wave, roll, spread|
|Diffusion||Shade, shadow, cloud|
|Chaos||Wild, crowd, ruin|
|Unknown||Secret, strange, unknown|
|Timelessness||Eternal, forever, immortal|
|Consciousness Alteration||Dream, sleep, wake|
|Brink-passage||Road, wall, door|
|Narcissism||Eye, heart, hand|
|Concreteness||At, where, over|
|Ascend||Rise, fly, throw|
|Height||Up, sky, high|
|Descend||Fall, drop, sink|
|Depth||Down, deep, beneath|
|Fire||Sun, fire, flame|
|Water||Sea, water, stream|
|Abstraction||Know, may, thought|
|Social Behavior||Say, tell, call|
|Instrumental Behavior||Make, find, work|
|Restraint||Must, stop, bind|
|Order||Simple, measure, array|
|Temporal References||When, now, then|
|Moral Imperative||Should, right, virtue|
|Positive Affect||Cheerful, enjoy, fun|
|Anxiety||Afraid, fear, phobic|
|Sadness||Depression, dissatisfied, lonely|
|Affection||Affectionate, marriage, sweetheart|
|Aggression||Angry, harsh, sarcasm|
|Expressive Behavior||Art, dance, sing|
|Glory||Admirable, hero, royal|