Examples of opening paragraphs

Do these opening paragraphs meet Bem's (1987) criteria for a good opening statement?


1.  Research on the prevalence of child sexual victimization suggests that one in every four girls in the United States may be molested during childhood (e.g., Finkelhor, Hotaling, Lewis, & Smith, 1990).  Many victims of child sexual abuse (CSA) experience long-term psychological problems.  Commonly observed symptoms include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, substance abuse, low self-esteem, dissociation, feelings of guilt, and interpersonal problems like difficulty of trusting others, or sexual problems (e.g., Zlotnick, et al., 1996; for reviews see Beitchman et al., 1992; Briere & Runtz, 1993; Kuyken, 1995; Rowan & Foy, 1993).


2.  Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a controversial treatment that claims to resolve long-standing traumatic memories within a few treatment sessions.  During EMDR treatment, the client is asked to hold in mind an image of the trauma, a negative self-cognition, negative emotions, and related physical sensations about the trauma.  While doing so the client is instructed to move her or his eyes quickly and laterally back and forth for about 15 to 20 s, following the therapist's fingers.  Other forms of left-right alternating stimulation are sometimes used (Shapiro, 1995). The client then reports the images, cognitions, emotions,  and physical sensations that emerged. This recursive procedure continues until desensitization of troubling material is complete and positive self-cognitions have replaced the previous negative self-cognition.


3  In the past several years there has been a great deal of empirical and theoretical interest in the role of consistency in the development and transfer of automatic processing (Duncan, 1986; Durso, Cooke, Breen, & Schvaneveldt, 1987, Fisk & Schneider, 1984; Fisk, Oransky, & Skedsvold, 1988; Kramer, Strayer, & Buckley, 1990; Myers & Fisk, 1987; Schneider & Fisk, 1982).   However, the importance of consistency for the development of new skills was acknowledged many years prior to this renewed interest.  Researchers at the turn of the century emphasized the importance of consistency for the development of high levels of mastery in both real-world skills such as telegraphy (Bryan & Harter, 1897, 1899) as well as laboratory tasks such as simultaneous reading and writing (Solomons & Stein, 1896).


4.  Attention can be thought of as a conitive mechanism designed to enhance perception of a complex sensory world by selecting certain aspects of perceptual input to process further.   The means by which attention accomplishes this goal have been studied primarily in the visual and auditory modalities, with a significant emphasis on the former.  In studying visual attentional mechanisms, principle investigators in the field, such as Posner (1980) and Treisman (1988) have concentrated their research efforts on one of the major demands on attention -- the ability to select a particular part of visual space for further analysis. By visual attention, I mean the ability to monitor a part of the visual field for a change in stimulation, not the ability to move one's eyes to a new location.  For example, a baseball pitcher has such an attentional demand when he keeps his eye on the batter as he starts to pitch but must at the same time monitor the part of his visual field corresponding to first base to detect if a runner is attempting to steal second base.



1.  Wenniger, K., & Ahlers, A. (1998). Dysfunctional cognitions and adult psychological functioning in child sexual abuse survivors. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 11, 281-300.

2.  Wilson, S. A., Becker, L. A., & Tinker, R. H. (1995). Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment for psychologically traumatized individuals. Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, 63, 928-937.

3.  Kramer, A. F., Strayer, D. L., & Buckley, J. (1991). Task versus component consistency in the development of automatic processing:; A psychophysiological assessment.  Psychophysiology, 28, 425-437.

4.  Shaprio, K. L. (1994). The attentional blink: the brain's eyeblink. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 3, 86-89.