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Journal of Projective Psychology and Mental Health: Volume 30, Number 1, Jan 2023 Editorial

1. Editorial: Research on Love: Neglected Areas of Scientific Inquiry: Chris Piotrowski (Senior Editor, University of West Florida, pages 1-3.

Love is one of a handful of emotions that is a common core affective state experienced by humans. It is ubiquitous, universal, yet perplexing. Moreover, love can be directed toward fellow human beings, animals, inanimate objects, ideas, or just about anything. Yet it seems at times elusive, ephemeral, yet residing within us and outside us. This intense, at times overwhelming emotion is accorded special status, and can be challenging to define or, at times, comprehend (but we know it when we see it or feel it).

From an academic point of view, not surprisingly, Love is a popular topic of scholarly interest (e.g., Cruces et al. 2015; Fehr et al., 2014; Fink, 2015; Knox, 2007; Song et al., 2015; Sussman, 2010; Sternberg & Barnes, 1988; Tatkin, 2012; Zsok et al., 2017). Undoubtedly, love remains a central feature of interpersonal and marital relationships (Anderson, 2014; Paludi, 2012; Sternberg & Barnes, 1988). A search of the literature confirms the fact that the topic of love has attracted extensive scholarly attention for over a century. A keyword search of the database PsycInfo indicates that the subject matter of love has served as a central focus of investigatory interest by researchers, represented by a voluminous body of literature (6,191 peer-reviewed articles, 975 books/chapters, 878 dissertations).

Yet few studies have focused on the intellectual structure and investigatory expanse of this extensive repository of scholarship. Moreover, given that this body of literature spans across a myriad of disciplines, it would be instructive to determine topical areas that attract little research interest regarding the subject of love. Such findings would elucidate our understanding of investigatory areas involving the issue of love. Hence, the aim of the current exercise is to perform a bibliometric content analysis of studies on love reported in the recent mental health literature and determine topical domains that are largely neglected by researchers as the focus of study.

Bibliometric analysis is a recognized and valid means in gaining a lucid canvas regarding research trends on a select body of scholarship (Krippendorff, 2004; Piotrowski, 2021, 2012; Piotrowski & Watt, 2022). For the current analysis of recent literature (2012-2021), the repository source of scholarship was the database PsycInfo. An online search in PsycInfo was conducted on November 1, 2021, which specified the term ‘Love’ as part of the Title of articles. The search identified 1,781 peer-reviewed articles. Of these, 219 were excluded (i.e., editorials, erratum/corrections, book reviews). Thus, the final dataset for the analysis was 1,562 articles. This procedure confirmed that the search strategy produced primary research with a central focus on the topic of love.

Based on extensive experience conducting bibliometric analyses on various research topics and individual journals, I reviewed each study and determined the major topical focus of the article. The specific aim was to determine the main topic/issue under study. Each article reference was coded with only 1 topical designation. A running-tab was maintained until all 1,562 articles were categorized which culminated in a rank-ordering of researched topics based on frequency. The parameters for ‘neglected’ domains were those topics with less than 1% of the dataset of 1,562 studies (i.e., 10 or less articles).

Based on this content analysis of primary research, (Table 1) lists copious topical areas which have received rather limited investigatory attention over the past 10 years. The lack of research focus on several of these subject areas is quite surprising, given the high visibility of some of these topics in the popular media and in the general psychological literature. For example, loneliness, divorce, emotion regulation, suicide, conflict in relationships, workplace romance, and jealousy. One possibility is the lack of consensus on the definition of the construct of love (Gawda, 2019; Hatfield et al., 2012; Skold & Roald, 2020; Watts & Stenner, 2014); hence, some researchers may consider love an opaque variable to study, and thus, shy-away from venturing on investigating this rather illusive topic in the context of other psychological issues.

Yet, other researchers rely on a variety of measures on the topic of love readily available in the published literature. Table 2 lists prominent tests and measures that reflect or encompass the construct of love. Several of these scales couch the issue of love in the context of romantic relationships (Natoli et al., 2021; Piotrowski, 1999). Perhaps, as these measures on the construct of love present satisfactory scientific evidence of psychometric credibility (see Aghedu et al., 2019; Bishop et al., 2016; Costa et al., 2021; Kapusta et al., 2018; Trent et al., 2020), investigators will incorporate the study of love in their research designs.

2. Rorschach Fact or Fiction: A Commentary on the R-PAS and CS/CS-R Carl, B. Gacono & Jason M. Smith, pages 4-10.

The use of psychological instruments prior to them being fully validated is never justified. The consequences can be serious in terms of psychometric credibility. The push to utilize a new Rorschach scoring system, the Rorschach Performance Assessment System (R-PAS; Meyer, Viglione, Mihura, Erard, and Erdberg, 2011), is worth examining from this perspective. Is its use scientifically justified, or, even necessary? We informally polled several colleagues regarding frequently asked questions when comparing the CS/CS-R and the R-PAS (Gacono and Smith, 2021a). This article explores practitioners’ responses to 10 of those questions.

3. Color Red and the Assessment Process: Implications for the Rorschach, Chris Piotrowski, pages 11-17.

Historically, the effects of color have generated extensive scholarly interest in the field of psychology and allied disciplines (Elliot et al., 2015). Yet, most of this body of research has appeared in journals outside of the sub-specialty of psychological assessment. As 5 of the 10 Rorschach cards have chromatic characteristics, the significance of individuals’ reactions to color on these inkblots seems critical to the assessment process. In the initial phase of Rorschach administration, the sole color on cards II and III is red. The aim of the current study is to highlight the critical importance and impact of the color Red on human perception and cognitive processes, with direct implications for the Rorschach method. A review of the empirical research on this issue confirms that the color Red has the potential to influence visual selection, perceptual processes, avoidance motivation, and psychological inhibitions. Moreover, the color Red has been found to elicit strong emotional reactivity and disruptive effects on cognitive processes. Overall, the preponderance of experimental findings supports the position that of all the different hues, the color Red seems to have a) high arousal properties and b) a detrimental influence on cognitive-perceptual performance. Moreover, research suggests that cognitive processing style in response to the color Red can occur unconsciously. Of interest to the assessment process, several studies on the impact of the color Red specific to Rorschach chromatic plates corroborate this general conclusion. Further research on the significance of the color Red in Rorschach assessment is sorely needed. An extensive bibliography that serves as a basis for this review is provided.

4. Development and Psychometric Evaluation of an Object Relations Measure for the Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank, John T. Rucker III & Radhika Krishnamurthy, pages 18-30.

Research in psychoanalytic personality assessment has involved the development and validation of affect-laden representations of self and others, i.e., object relations, which are substrates of interpersonal variables assessed by self-report and performance-based personality measures. With both self-report and performance-based elements, sentence completion measures such as the Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank (RISB) offer an alternative method of assessing personality (mal) adjustment by eliciting and scoring completions of a respondent’s feelings to short sentence stems (Rotter & Rafferty, 1950; Rotter et al., 1992). The current study sought to develop and evaluate an object relations (OR) measure for the RISB. RISB sentence stems related to self and others were selected to develop the OR scale (15 stems) and self- and other-representation subscales (9 stems and 6 stems, respectively). Several test score reliability and validity analyses were undertaken following contemporary psychometric guidelines. Inter-rater reliability coefficients for outpatient mental health clients (N = 50) were r = .80 (Self subscale), r = .88 (Other subscale), and r = .88 (Total scale). Internal consistency reliabilities for outpatients (N = 123) demonstrated medium-to-large alpha (α = .77; α = .54; α = .77) and omega (ω = .79; ω = .55; ω = .78) coefficients. Test-retest reliabilities (r = .71; r = .65; r = .64) using a college student sample (N = 20) demonstrated moderate temporal stability of the scales. External validity evaluations examined correlations between RISB OR scale scores and relevant Rorschach (N = 84) and MMPI-2 (N = 111) scale scores of outpatient clients. Convergent validity correlations were in the small-to-large effect size range with several MMPI-2 interpersonal scales but were minimal in relation to Rorschach variables. Discriminant validity was most clearly shown with Rorschach variables but not MMPI-2 scales. In addition, results showed significant differences in mean RISB OR scale scores of outpatients and college students (N = 50 each), but not between personality disordered and non-personality disordered outpatients (N = 45 each). The findings of this study suggest adequate psychometric standing of the RISB OR scales and subscales as measures of object relations. Implications and future directions are discussed.

5. Efficacy of Somatic Inkblot Test (Online version) in Clinical Cases Ankush Aneja, Anand Dubey & Bankey L. Dubey, pages 31-37.

Projective tests open a window into the inner depth of the unconscious and help in accessing the suppressed and repressed material causing undesirable behavior, unlike the Questionnaire and Rating Scale method. This suppressed and repressed material is brought to the surface in the form of responses and dreams and needs symbolic interpretation and introspection. This paper highlights the efficacy of Somatic Inkblot Test – online version (Dubey et. Al., 2019, Dubey & Dubey, 2021) in two cases: first is a case of major depressive disorder (single episode, mild severity, with anxious distress-mild severityCode: DSM-5, 296.21), and second is a case of Somatic Symptom Disorder, having mild, predominant pain, with panic attack (Code: DSM-5, 300.82).

6. Variations in Post-hypnotic Suggestion for managing Dissociative Conversion Disorder using Projective Tests – A Case Study Usri Sengupta, Amool Ranjan Singh & Masroor Jahan, pages 38-43.

This paper explored the effect of variation of post-hypnotic suggestion on the management if dissociative conversion disorder in an adult woman. These suggestions were individualized for the patient using findings from the projective tests like Thematic Apperception Test and Sentence Completion Test. The tests were done during baseline phase and post-intervention phase. The patient had significantly lesser conflicts, improved attitude towards parents, greater self-confidence, and improved compassion towards herself during the post-intervention phase. Also, 9 sessions of hypnosis were done to reach complete recovery, but the patient showed significant improvement in the symptoms of dissociative conversion just after 2 sessions of hypnosis. Secondary gain also needed to be controlled during the final phase of the psychotherapy session to achieve completely recovery from dissociative conversion. The patient was followed up for 8 months thereafter. Currently, the patient is no longer having dissociative conversion attacks., 103.

7. Mindfulness as an adjunct to Cognitive Restructuring and ERP: Psychotherapeutic intervention of individuals diagnosed with OCD, Shreshta Chattopadhyay & Soheli Datta. Pages 44-53.

Understanding and treating OCD can be one of the greatest challenges facing mental health professionals. Experts recommend cognitive- behavioral therapy (CBT), which includes a heavy component of exposure and response prevention (ERP), the first- line treatment of choice for mild to moderate cases of obsessions and compulsions. Since, traditional ERP is mostly based on western philosophies, mindfulness strategies, which are more relatable to the Indian population, has been used as an adjunct to ERP and cognitive restructuring for the treatment of OCD. The present study aimed to examine the effect of mindfulness as an adjunct to ERP and cognitive restructuring on individuals diagnosed with OCD. The individuals (n= 4) were assessed in the domains of thought control using the Thought Control Questionnaire (TCQ), emotional schema using the Leahy Emotional Schema Scale II (LESS II), quality of life using WHOQOL - BREF, dysfunctional attitude by the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale –Short Form 1 and Y- BOCS total score, pre and post therapeutic intervention. It was found that mindfulness as an adjunct to CBT led to improved thought control, better quality of life, lower dysfunctional attitude and lesser severity of symptoms. It further highlights the need for developing therapeutic strategies more suitable for the Indian culture which would have a wider applicability.

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