The basic structure for the research of the Referential Process Research Group is provided by Bucci’s theory of the Referential Process, which in turn is based on her Multiple Code Theory. The members of the group interactively work to formulate and test a scientifically based
general psychological model that represents emotion as an integral
aspect of mental functioning. Such a theory is necessarily relevant to
psychotherapy and can provide a framework for the observations and
experiences of clinical theorists, practitioners and their patients.In broad outline, the goals of the group are to (A) further develop the theory of the referential process, including its connections with cognitive science, neuroscience and other branches of psychology; (B) understand referential activity as a basic psychological process by conducting scientific research studies that both define the parameters of this process and show its connections to other psychological processes; (C) expand and validate the computerized measures of the phases of the referential process, primarily with the goal of using these measures for clinical studies; and (D) provide a framework for clinical science by conducting studies that use clinical material, such as transcripts, therapist's notes and interviews, to relate the measures of the referential process to clinical understanding and measurements.
Short descriptions of the current projects, and their current state of completion are given below.
Ongoing and Recently Completed Research Projects
A. The Theory of the Referential Process: Connections with Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Computerized Measures and Clinical Work. Wilma Bucci's writings provide this overarching view of our work; past publications as well as her latest as yet unpublished writings are listed on the Publications page.
B. Studies in Basic Science: Referential Activity as a Psychological Process.
- (Murphy, Dube, Bucci, Maskit) To what extent is a person's RA a trait variable (research completed; paper in preparation).
- (Maskit, Bucci) RA and episodic memory: The computerized measure of RA (WRAD) is also a measure of the degree to which a spoken response to a prompt involves episodic memory (research completed; preliminary poster presented at APS, 2009; paper in preparation).
- (Stoycheva) The comparison of computerized measures of the referential process to normed
standardized tests of intelligence (verbal and non-verbal) and verbal
ability (proposed research).
- (Welsh, Bucci) The connection between the RA of the telling of an event and the extent to which our feelings about the event change upon the telling (first stage of research completed; paper and second stage in preparation).
- (King, Bucci) Same as #6 above, but with subjects for whom English is not their first language (research completed; paper in preparation).
- (Nan, Bucci) Same as #6 above, but with subjects who speak Chinese (research in progress).
- (Campanelli) The connection between RA and measures of vocal qualities (research in progress).
- (Murphy, Bucci, Maskit) To what
extent does the RA of a person's written response to a text reflect the
RA of the text (research completed; paper in preparation).
- (Murphy) To what extent does a person's RA in conversation depend on
the RA of the other person (research completed; paper in preparation).
C. Computer Measures of the Referential Process and their Validation
- (Murphy) General norms for the computerized referential process dictionaries (research in progress).
- (Khan, Murphy). Comparative
studies of the relationships among the Referential Process dictionaries
and the Lingusitic Inquiry Word Count (LIWC) dictionaries of Pennebaker et al. (poster presented at APSaA. 2010).
- (Murphy) Construction of new weighted affect and arousal based dictionaries (research in progress).
- (Mariani) Constructing an Italian Reflection dictionary (doctoral dissertation).
- (Mariani, DeCoro, Maskit, Bucci) Using the Italian WRAD, Reflection, Affect and Disfluency dictionaries in single case studies (research completed; paper in preparation).
- (Bonfanti, Campanelli) Constructing an Italian Disfluency dictionary (paper presented at SPR, 2008).
- (Bonfanti, Papini, Ciliberti, Golia, Maskit, Bucci) Using the Italian WRAD in a single case study (research in progress).
- (Maskit, Bucci) Using time as the independent variable (preliminary results presented at SPR, 2009).
- (Kingsley) Using judges' ratings of Arousal, Symbolizing and Reorganizing in segments from psychodynamic treatments to compare with the extent to which Disfluency, WRAD and Reflection dictionaries pick out these phases (doctoral dissertation).
- (Maskit, Murphy) Kingsley's work (#6 above) is the first step of a more general project of modeling the phases of the referential process and then validating the model (research in progress).
- (Maskit) New weighted dictionaries will be constructed in an attempt to model judges' ratings on the four RA scales of Clarity, Specificity, Concreteness and Imagery; the new method used to construct the Italian WRAD will be used (research in progress).
- (Ravitz) Can differences in language style of children be measured using WRAD? (research in progress).
D. Clinical Applications
- (Bucci, Hoffman, Maskit) Significant correlations found between measures of the referential process and clinical measures of outcome applied to notes of the NYPSI Treatment Center (preliminary paper presented at Rapaport-Klein forum, 2009, and at SPR, 2009; papers in preparation).
- (Lewis, Murphy, Hanakawa) A comparison of the levels of WRAD in interviews with schizophrenic patients: autobiographical interviews of flat and nonflat affect schizophrenic patients compared with nonclinical samples at different ages, (poster presented at APS, 2009).
- (Nelson) Exploring the connection between narrative and RA in two kinds of dementia: Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal Lobar Dementia (poster presented at APS, 2009).
- (Bucci) Session Quality Process Measure. A multi-item clinical scale designed to give a qualitative sense of the analytic process in single sessions or treatments (research in progress).
- (Hoffman, Bucci, Merchant, Stoycheva, Campanelli) Application of language and vocal measures to interviews of child
psychoanalysts (research in progress).
- (Chefetz, Bucci, Maskit, Stoycheva, Llanos) Single case study of psychotherapy sessions with a patient with Dissociative Identity Disorder (research in progress).
Our research group meets at Adelphi University and The New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute who have generously provided space and other resources to support our work. Several ongoing projects include partnerships with the Treatment Center at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, through collaborative research with Norbert Freedman, Marvin Hurvich and Richard Lasky, and the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute through the work of Richard Chefetz.