January 1972

Arousal and Attitude Change in Neurotic Patients

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;26(1):51-56. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750190053010

An earlier study demonstrated that psychoneurotic patients aroused by ether inhalation showed significant shifts in selected concepts in response to persuasive communications given by a prestigious person under dramatic circumstances. The present study aimed to separate effects of ether arousal from other factors in the situation. Twenty Patients received as part of their Psychotherapy two special sessions identical with those of the previous study. One half were aroused by ether inhalation and one half were kept in a state of low arousal through Premedication with chlorpromazine. Short-term attitude changes, measured on Osgood's semantic Differential, were comparable for both groups during the first session but were significantly greater for the aroused group during the subsequent session, indicating that in influencing patients persuasive circumstances were less effective alone than when combined with arousal.