Stimulus Deprivation and Overstimulation as Dissociogenic Agents in Postmodern Oppressive Societies

Sar V., Ozturk E.

JOURNAL OF TRAUMA & DISSOCIATION, vol.14, no.2, pp.198-212, 2013 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier


Societal conditions associated with overstimulation or understimulation may precipitate and maintain oppression among individuals and communities by inducing dissociation. Distortion of reality and the flooding of everyday awareness with irrelevant information by mass media is a type of community-wide overstimulation. Alternatively, stimulus deprivation enables single-minded thinking to be narrowly preoccupied with rigid religious ideas, traditional rituals, and postmodern thought and behavior patterns. Provoked sex is utilized as a soothing tool for those who live in overstimulation and as an opportunity for transient enjoyment and rejuvenation for those who live in stimulus deprivation. Chronic exposure to disproportionate stimuli resurrects the trauma-based developmental detachment between the sociological and psychological selves of the individual at the cost of the latter. The enlarged sociological self of the individual is misused to induce a conforming identity transformation of individuals and entire communities that is a prerequisite to setting and maintaining an oppressive system. Constituting overstimulation itself, the enduring fear of chaos in a world akin to crisis enables deliberate acceptance of oppression to restore a sense of control. In fact, the expectancy of crisis triggers the trauma-related dissociative fears of individual internal chaos, which are misused, in turn, to aggravate fears of external chaos again. By facilitating the denial of internal fears rather than integrating them, psychological theories and practices of the past century have failed in addressing the problem of individual and societal oppression.