Volume 4   Number 1      Fall 2010

Temporal Dialogues and Their Influence on Affective States
and the Meaning of Life
Piotr K. Oleś
Elwina Brygola
Małgorzata Sibińska
John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin (Poland)
pp. 23-43

ABSTRACT: The study contributes to the understanding of temporal dialogical activity of the self. The four separate studies conducted on student samples were focused on the immediate and direct influence of the confrontation of time-related I-positions (voices) on affective states and the meaning of life. The affective states and the meaning of life as a state were measured twice just before and after the temporal dialogues between past or/and future and the present I-positions. The State Personality Inventory (SPI, by Spielberger & Reheiser), and the scales measuring the meaning of life (by Oleś) were used. In general, the temporal dialogues tended to increase the meaning of life as a state, and the extent of the influence was affected by an ability to integrate the voices (points of view) representing different temporal positions of the self. Moreover, temporal dialogues tended to increase curiosity and reduce negative affects like depression or anxiety (except the cases in which an initial level of the meaning of life was lowered). The confrontation of inner voices representing future and present I-positions had positive influence on well-being and the meaning of life as a state, while an analogous phenomenon concerning the confrontation of past and present I-positions was not so salient. In the fifth study we checked distant effect of a whole life story construction in adOleścents. The meaning of life as a trait (scale by Oleś) and identity dimensions (Ego Identity Process Questionnaire – EIPQ - by Balistreri, Busch-Rossnagel, & Geisinger) were measured just before and one week after life story construction. According to the results, constructing a prospective life story by adolescents enhanced their meaning of life, and constructing an imagined retrospective life story from the perspective I as an old person, stimulated exploration of one’s own identity. The results are discussed with reference to the theory of the dialogical self, psychology of time and life-span developmental perspective.