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June 13, 1936

Autistic Gestures: An Experimental Study in Symbolic Movement

JAMA. 1936;106(24):2096. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770240060030

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Abstract

The present volume is an interesting monograph. The purpose is to determine whether spontaneous gesticulations or movements are significant as far as aiding in understanding the nature of mental mechanism is concerned. The author particularly wishes to find out whether autistic gestures or unconscious movements are sufficiently concrete so that they can be observed in a scientific manner, to find out whether the stimuli of these gestures can be determined through day-dream or reading responses, and whether there is any consistency of gesture in similar stimulus situations. The number of gestures was observed, classified and tabulated. The reliability of the observers in obtaining this material was also checked and correlated. The author concludes that autistic gestures cannot be interpreted even by individuals who conscientiously attempt to interpret them but require an "abstracted state" and special technics for their study; that the gestures are determinable through the stimuli with which they

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