Parataxic Level

Parataxic experiences are prelogical and usually result when a person assumes a cause-and-effect relationship between two events that occur coincidentally. Parataxic cognitions are more clearly differentiated than prototaxic experiences, but their meaning remains private. Therefore, they can be communicated to others only hi a distorted fashion.

An example of parataxic thinking takes place when a child is conditioned to say "please" hi order to receive candy. If "candy and "please" occur together a number of thnes, the child may eventually reach the illogical conclusion that her supplications caused the candy's appearance. This conclusion is a parataxic distortion, or an illogical belief that a cause-and-effect relationship exists between two events in close temporal proxhnity. However, utterhig the word "please" does not, by itself, cause the candy to appear. A dispensing person must be present who hears the word and is able and willing to honor the request. When no such person is present, a child may ask God or imaginary people to grant favors. A good bit of adult behavior comes from similar parataxic thinking.

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